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( Gizeh Museum ; 




. BY 











43, Queen Victoria Street, E.G. 



Professor Maspero does not need to be introduced to English readers. His 
name is well known in this country as that of one of the chief masters of 
Egyptian science as well as of ancient Oriental history and archaeology. Alike 
as a philologist, a historian, and an archaeologist, he occupies a foremost place 
in the annals of modern knowledge and research. He po-sesses that quick 
apprehension and fertility of resource without which the decipherment of 
ancient texts is impossible, and he also possesses a sympathy with the past and 
a power of realizing it which are indispensable if we would picture it aright. 
His intimate acquaintance with Egypt and its literature, and the opportunities 
of discovery afforded him by his position for several years as director of the 
Bulaq Museum, give him an unique claim to speak with authority on the history 
of the valley of the Nile. In the present work he has been prodigal of his 
abundant stores of learning and knowledge, aad it may therefore be regarded 
as the most complete account of ancient Egypt that has ever yet been 

In the case of Babylonia and Assyria he no longer, it is true, speaks at 
first hand. But he has thoroughly studied the latest and best authorities on 
the subject, and has weighed their statements with the judgment which comes 
from an exhaustive acquaintance with a similar department of knowledge. 
Here, too, as elsewhere, references have been given with an unsparing hand, 
so that the reader, if he pleases, can examine the evidence for himself. 

Naturally, in progressive studies like those of Egyptology and Assyriology, 
a good many theories and conclusions must be tentative and provisional only. 
Discovery crowds so quickly on discovery, that the truth of to-day is often apt 
to be modified or amplified by the truth of to-morrow. A single fresh fact may 
throw a wholly new and unexpected light upon the results we have already 
gained, and cause them to assume a somewhat changed aspect. But this is 



what must happen in all sciences in which there is a healthy growth, and 
archaeological science is no exception to the rule. 

The spelling of ancient Egyptian proper names adopted by Professor 
Maspero will perhaps seem strange to many English readers. But it must be 
remembered that all our attempts to represent the pronunciation of ancient 
Egyptian words can be approximate only ; we can never ascertain with certainty 
how they were actually sounded. All that can be done is to determine what 
pronunciation was assigned to them in the Greek jjeriod, and to work backwards 
i'rom this, so far as it is possible, to more remote ages. This is what Professor 
Maspero has done, and it must be no slight satisfaction to him to find that on 
the whole his system of transliteration is confirmed by the cuneiform tablets 
of Tel el-Amarna. The system, however, is unfamiliar to English eyes, and 
consequently, for the sake of " the weaker brethren," the equivalents of the 
geographical and proper names he has used are given in the more usual 
spelling at the end of the work. 

The difficulties attaching to the spelling of Assyrian names are different 
from those which beset our attempts to reproduce, even approximately, the 
names of ancient Egypt. The cuneiform system of writing was syllabic, each 
character denoting a syllable, so that we know what were the vowels in a 
proper name as well as the consonants. Moreover, the pronunciation of the 
consonants resembled that of the Hebrew consonants, the transliteration of 
which has long since become conventional. When, therefore, an Assyrian or 
Babylonian name is written phonetically, its correct transliteration is not often 
a matter of question. But, unfortunately, the names are not always written 
phonetically. The cuneiform script was an inheritance from the non-Semitic 
predecessors of the Semites in Babylonia, and in this script the characters 
represented words as well as sounds. Not unfrequently the Semitic Assyrians 
continued to write a name in the old Sumerian way instead of spelling it 
phonetically, the result being that we do not know how it was pronounced in 
their own language. The name of the Chaldsean Noah, for instance, is written 
with two characters which ideographically signify "the sun " or "day of life," 
'and of the first of which the Sumerian values were ut, babar, hliis, tarn, and par, 
while the second had the value of zi. Were it not that the Chaldsean historian 
Bê.ôssos writes the name Xisuthros, we should have no clue to its Semitic 

Professor Maspero's learning and indefatigable industry are well known to 
me, but I confess I was not prepared for the exhaustive acquaintance he shows 
with Assyriological literature. Nothing seems to have escaped his notice. 
Papers and books published during the present year, and half-forgotten articles 



in obscure periodicals which appeared years ago, have all alike been used and 
quoted by him. Naturally, however, there are some points on which I should 
be inclined to differ from the conclusions he draws, or to which he has been 
led by other Assyriologists. Without being an Assyriologist himself, it was 
impossible for him to be acquainted with that portion of the evidence on certain 
disputed questions which is only to be found in still unpublished or untranslated 

There are two points which seem to me of sufficient importance to justify 
my expression of dissent from his views. These are the geographical situation 
of the land of Magan, and the historical character of the annals of Sargon of 
Accad. The evidence about Magan is very clear. Magan is usually associated 
with the country of Melukhkha, "the salt " desert, and in every text in which its 
geographical position is indicated it is placed in the immediate vicinity of 
Egypt. Thus Assur-bani-pal, after stating that he had "gone to the lands of 
Magan and Melukhkha," goes on to say that he " directed his road to Egypt 
and Kush," and then describes the first of his Egyptian campaigns. Similar 
testimony is borne by Esar-haddon. The latter king tells us that after quitting 
Egypt he directed his road to the land of Melukhkha, a desert region in which 
there were no rivers, and which extended " to the city of Rapikh " (the modern 
Raphia) "at the edge of the wadi of Egypt" (the present Wadi El-Arîsh). 
After this he received camels from the king of the Arabs, and made his way to 
the land and city of Magan. The Tel el-Amarna tablets enable us to carry the 
record back to the fifteenth century b.c. In cerfain of the tablets now at Berlin 
(Winckler and Abel, 42 and 45) the Phoenician governor of the Pharaoh 
asks that help should be sent him from Melukhkha and Egypt : " The 
king should hear the words of his servant, and send ten men of the country of 
Melukhkha and twenty men of the country of Egypt to defend the city [of 
Gebal] for the king." And again, " I have sent [to] Pharaoh " (literally, " the 
great house ") " for a garrison of men from the country of Melukhkha, and . . • 
the king has just despatched a garrison [from] the country of Melukhkha." At 
a still earlier date we have indications that Melukhkha and Magan denoted 
the same region of the world. In an old Babylonian geographical list which 
belongs to the early days of Chaldsean history, Magan is described as " the 
country of bronze," and Melukhkha as " the country of the samdu," or 
" malachite." It was this list which originally led Oppert, Lenormant, and 
myself independently to the conviction that Magan was to be looked for in the 
Sinaitic Peninsula. Magan included, however, the Midian of Scripture, and 
the city of Magan, called Makkan in Semitic Assyrian, is probably the Makna 
of classical geography, now represented by the ruins of Mukna, 



As I have always maintained the historical character of the annals of 
Sargon of Accad, long before recent discoveries led Professor Hilprecht and 
others to adopt the same view, it is as well to state why I consider them worthy 
of credit. In themselves the annals contain nothing improbable ; indeed, what 
might seem the most unlikely portion of them — that which describes the 
extension of Sargon's empire to the shores of the Mediterranean — has been 
confirmed by the progress of research. Ammi-satana, a king of the first dynasty 
of Babylon (about 2200 b.c.), calls himself " king of the country of the 
Amorites," and the Tel el-Amarna tablets have revealed to us how deep and 
long-lasting Babylonian influence must have been throughout Western Asia. 
Moreover, the vase described by Professor Maspero on p. 600 of the present 
work proves that the expedition of Naram-Sin against Magan was an historical 
reality, and such an expedition was only possible if " the land of the Amorites," 
the Syria and Palestine of later days, had been secured in the rear. But what 
chiefly led me to the belief that the annals are a document contemporaneous 
with the events narrated in them, are two facts which do not seem to have 
been sufficiently considered. On the one side, while the annals of Sargon are 
given in full, those of his son Naram-Sin break off abruptly in the early part 
of his reign. I see no explanation of this, except that they were composed 
while Naram-Sin was still on the throne. On the other side, the campaigns 
of the two monarchs are coupled with the astrological phenomena on which 
the success of the campaigns was supposed to depend. We know that the 
Babylonians were given to the practice and study of astrology from the earliest 
days of their history ; we know also that even in the time of the later Assyrian 
monarchy it was still customary for the general in the field to be accompanied 
by the asipu, or " prophet," the ashshâph of Dan. ii. 10, on whose interpretation 
of the signs of heaven the movements of the army depended ; and in the 
infancy of Chaldaean history we should accordingly expect to find the astrolo- 
gical sign recorded along with the event with which it was bound up. At a 
subsequent period the sign and the event were separated from one another in 
literature, and had the annals of Sargon been a later compilation, in their case 
also the separation would assuredly have been made. That, on the contrary, 
the annals have the form which they could have assumed and ought to have 
assumed only at the beginning of contemporaneous Babylonian history, is to 
me a strong testimony in favour of their genuineness. 

If may be added that Babylonian seal-cylinders have been found in Cyprus, 
one of which is of the age of Sargon of Accad, its style and workmanship being 
the same as that of the cylinder figured on p. 601 of this volume, while the 
other, though of later date, belonged to a person who describes himself as " the 



servant of the deified Naram-Sin." Such cylinders may, of course, have been 
brought to the island in later times ; but when we remember that a characteristic 
object of prehistoric Cypriote art is an imitation of the seal-cylinder of Chaldoea, 
their discovery cannot be wholly an accident. 

Professor Maspero has brought his facts up to so recent a date that there is 
very little to add to what he has written. Since his manuscript was in type, 
however, a few additions have been made to our Assyriological knowledge. 
A fresh examination of the Babylonian dynastic tablet has led Professor 
Delitzsch to make some alterations in the published account of what Professor 
Maspero calls the ninth dynasty. According to Professor Delitzsch, the 
number of kings composing the dynasty is stated on the tablet to be twenty- 
one, and not thirty-one as was formerly read, and the number of lost lines 
exactly corresponds with this figure. The first of the kings reigned thirty- 
six years, and he had a predecessor belonging to the previous dynasty whose 
name has been lost. There would consequently have been two Elamite 
usurpers instead of one. 

I would further draw attention to an interesting text, published by 
Mr. Strong in the Babylonian and Oriental Record for July, 1892, which 
I believe to contain the name of a king who belonged to the legendary 
dynasties of Chaldaea. This is Sarnas-natsir, who is coupled w ith Sargon of 
Accad and other early monarchs in one of the lists. The legend, if I interpret 
it rightly, states that "Elam shall be altogether given to Samas-natsir ; " 
and the same prince is further described as building Nippur and Dur-ilu, as 
King of Babylon and as conqueror both of a certain Baldakha and of 
Khumba-sitir, "the king of the cedar-forest." It will be remembered that 
in the Epic of Gilgames, Khumbaba also is stated to have been the lord 
of the " cedar-forest." 

But of new discoveries and facts there is a constant supply, and it is 
impossible for the historian to keep pace with them. Even while the sheets 
of his work are passing through the press, the excavator, the explorer, and the 
decipherer are adding to our previous stores of knowledge. The past year has 
not fallen behind its predecessors in this respect. In Egypt, Mr. de Morgan's 
unwearied energy has raised as it were out of the ground, at Kom Ombo, 
a vast and splendidly preserved temple, of whose existence we had hardly 
dreamed ; has discovered twelfth-dynasty jewellery at Dahshur of the most 
exquisite workmanship, and at Meir and Assiut has found in tombs of the 
sixth dynasty painted models of the trades and professions of the day, as well 
as fighting battalions of soldiers, which, for freshness and lifelike reality, 
contrast favourably with the models which come from India to-day. In 



Babylonia, the American Expedition, under Mr. Haines, has at Niffer unearthed 
monuments of older date than those of Sargon of Accad. Nor must I, in 
conclusion, forget to mention the lotiform column found by Mr. de Morgan 
in a tomb of the Old Empire at Abusir, or the interesting discovery made by 
Mr. Arthur Evans of seals and other objects from the prehistoric sites of Krete 
and other parts of the iEgean, inscribed with hieroglyphic characters which 
reveal a new system of writing that must at one time have existed by the side 
of the Hittite hieroglyphs, and may have had its origin in the influence 
exercised by Egypt on the peoples of the Mediterranean in the age of the 
twelfth dynasty. 



October, 1894. 



In completing the translation of so great a work as " Les Origines," I have to 
thank Professor Maspero for kindly permitting me to appeal to him on various 
questions which arose while preparing the volume for English readers. His 
patience and courtesy have alike been unfailing in every matter submitted for 
his decision. 

I am indebted to Miss Bradbury for kindly supplying, in the midst of 
much other literary work for the Egypt Exploration Fund, the translation 
of the chapter on the gods, and also of the earlier parts of Chapters I., III., 
and VI. She has, moreover, helped me in my own share of the work with 
many suggestions and hints, which her intimate connection with the late 
Miss Amelia B. Edwards fully qualified her to give. 

As in the original there is a lack of uniformity in the transcription and 
accentuation of Arabic names, I have ventured to alter them in several cases 
to the form most familiar to English readers. 

The spelling of the ancient Egyptian words has, at Professor Masporo's 
request, been retained throughout, with the exception that the French ou has 
been invariably represented by û, e.g. Khnoumou by Khnûmû. In the copious 
index, however, which has been added to the English edition, the forms of 
Egyptian names familiar to readers in this country will be found, together with 
Professor Maspero's equivalents. 

The translation is further distinguished from the French original by the 
enlargement of the general map, which combines the important geographical 
information given in the various separate maps scattered throughout the work. 

By an act of international courtesy, the director of the Imprimerie Nationale 
has allowed the beautifully cut hieroglyphic and cuneiform type used in the 
original to be employed in the English edition, and I take advantage of this 
opportunity to express to him our thanks and appreciation of his graceful act. 

M. L. McClure. 


October 11. 


A new edition of the English translation of this work having been called 
for within a little over a year from its publication, an opportunity was afforded 
the author to embody in it the results of the latest research. The part 
dealing with Egypt has consequently been enriched with additions to text 
and notes, and in the chapter on Chaldsea the author has utilized fresh infor- 
mation from the recent works of Tallqvist, Winckler, and Hilprecht, and from 
Monsieur de Sarzec's latest publications. 

The following extract from a letter of Professor Maspero to the translator 
will show that he has spared no pains to bring his work abreast of the most 
recent discoveries : — 

" La correction des dernières épreuves n'a pas marché aussi vite que je 
l'aurais souhaité, parceque je voulais étudier les livres nouveaux qui ont paru 
depuis l'an passé dans le domaine de l'Assyriologie. J'espère pourtant ne pas 
vous avoir occasionné trop de retard, et vous avoir mis le texte au point des 
dernières découvertes sans vous avoir obligée à trop remanier la composition." 

The translation has been carefully revised throughout, and the pagination 
of the new edition has been kept uniform with that of the first edition, and also 
with the French original, so as to facilitate reference. 

The three coloured plates omitted in the first edition of the translation 
have now been added at the author's request. 

M. L. M. 


Februanj, 189G. 


The following extract 'from a letter by Professor Maspero to the translator 
will sufficiently indicate the changes made in this, the third edition of the 
English translation of " Les Origines : " — 

" Cette fois-ci encore je me suis efforcé de mettre mon texte au courant des 
progrès accomplis dans nos sciences depuis l'an dernier. Les découvertes 
d'Amélineau et de Morgan sont encore trop mal connues, et les aperçus que 
leurs auteurs nous en ont fournis sont trop sommaires, pourque j'aie osé en tirer 
parti ; en revanche, j'ai inséré à leur place probable les documents nouveaux 
que Pétrie nous avait fait connaître à Ballas et à Neggadéh. Dans les 
chapitres consacrés à la Chaldée, j'ai pu, grâce à la complaisance amicale 
de Monsieur Henzey, indiquer un certain nombre de faits signalés au com- 
mencement de cette année même : j'ai donné tous mes soins à compléter la 
bibliographie de chaque sujet et à revoir les traductions des textes originaux. 
J'ai été gêné quelquefois par le clichage, mais je crois n'avoir rien omis qu'il 
importât réellement de faire connaître au lecteur." 

In spite of considerable difficulties, the pagination remains the same, the 
additional pages being numbered 453a, b, etc., and so inserted in the Index. 

M. L. M. 

San do ate, 

August, 1897. 






The Biver and its Influence upon the Formation of the Country — The 

Oldest Inhabitants of the Valley and its First Political Organization 8 



Their Number and their Nature — The Feudal Gods, Living and Dead — 
The Triads— Temples and Priests — The Cosmogonies of the Delta — 
The Enneads of Heliopolis and of Hermopolis ... ... ... 81 



The Divine Dynasties: KÂ Shû, Osiris, Sit, Hords— Thot, and the Inven- 
tion of Sciences and Writing — Menés, and the Three First Human 
Dynasties ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 156 



The King, the Queen, and the Eoyal Princes — Administration under the 
Pharaohs — Feudalism and the Egyptian Priesthood, the Military — 
The Citizens and Country People ... .. ... ... 247 






The Eoyal Pyramid Builders : Kheops, Khephren, Mykerinos— Memphite 
Literature and Art — Extension of Egypt towards the South, and 
the Conquest of Nubia by the Pharaohs ... ... ... ... 34 7 



The Two Heracleopolitan Dynasties and the Twelfth Dynasty — The 
Conquest of ^Ethiopia, and the making of Greater Egypt by the 
Theban Kings ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 445 



The Creation, the Deluge, the History of the Gods — The Country, its 

Cities, its Inhabitants, its Early Dynasties ... ... ... 537 



The Construction and Eevenues of the Temples — Popular Gods and Theo- 
logical Triads — The Dead and Hades ... ... ... ... 623 



Royalty" — The Constitution of the Family and its Property — Chaldean 

Commerce and Industry ... ... ... ... ... ... 703 


The Pharaohs of the Ancient and Middle Empires ... ... ... 785 





The Delta : its gradual formation, its structure, its canals — Tlie valley of J^yypi — The two 
arms of the river — The Eastern Nile — The appearance of its banks — The hills — The gorge of 
Gebel Silsileh — The cataracts : the falls of Aswan — Nubia — Tlie rapids of Wâdy Halfah — The 
Takazze — The Blue Nile and the WJiite Nile. 

The sources of the Nile — Tlie Egyptian cosmography — Tlie four pillars and the four 
upholding mountains — The celestial Nile tlie source of the terrestrial Nile — Tlie Southern Sea 
and the islands of Spirits — The tears of Isis — The rise of the Nile — The Green Nile and the 
Red Nile — The opening of the dykes — The fall of the Nile — The river at its lowest ebb. 

Tlie alluvial deposits and the effects of the inundation upon the soil of Egy2)t — Paucity of 
the flora : aquatic plants, the papyrus and the lotus ; the sycamore and the date-palm, the 
acacias, the dôm-palms — The fauna : the domestic and wild animals ; serpents, the warns ; the 
hippopotamus and the crocodile ; birds ; fish, the fahaka. 

The Nile god : his form and its varieties — The goddess Mirit — The supposed sources of the 
Nile at Elephantine — The festivals of Gebel Silsileh— Hymn to the Nile from papyri in the 
British Museum. 


( 2 ) 

Tlie names of the Nile and Egypt : Bomitû and — Antiquity of the Egyptian people 
— Their first horizon — The hypothesis of their Asiatic origin — The probability of their African 
origin — Tlie language and its Semitic affinities — The race and its principal types. 

The primitive civilization of Egypt — Its survival into historic times — The women of Amon — 
Marriage — Bights of women and children — Houses — Furniture — Dress — Jewels — Wooden and 
metal arms — Primitive life — Fishing and hunting — The lasso and "bolas" — Tlie domestication 
of animals — Plants used for food — The lotus — Cereals — The hoe and the plough. 

Tlie conquest of the valley — Dykes — Basins — Irrigation — Tlie princes — The nomes — The 
first local principalities— Late organization of theDelta— Character of its inhabitants — Gradual 
division of the principalities and changes of their areas — The god of the city. 




The river and its influence upon the formation of the country— The oldest inhabitants of the 
valley and its first political organization. 

LONG, low, level shore, scarcely rising above the sea, 
a chain of vaguely defined and ever-shifting lakes and 
marshes, then the triangular plain beyond, whose apex 
is thrust thirty leagues into the land — this, the Delta 
of Egypt, has gradually been acquired from the 
sea, and is as it were the gift of the Nile. 2 The 
Mediterranean once reached to the foot of the sandy 
plateau on which stand the Pyramids, and formed 
a wide gulf where now stretches plain beyond plain 
of the Delta. The last undulations of the Arabian 
hills, from Gebel Mokattam to Gebel Geneffeh, were 
its boundaries on the east, while a sinuous and shallow 
channel running between Africa and Asia united the 

1 From a drawing by Boudier, after a photograph by the Dutch traveller Insinger, taken in 1864. 

* Herodotus, ii. 5 : earl Alymrrioiari iir'iKrr]r6s re 77) /cat Sâpov tov iroraixov. The same expression 
has been attributed to Hecatœus of Miletus (Muller-Didot, Fragmenta Historicorum Grxcorum, vol. 
i. p. 19, fragm. 279 ; cf. Diels, Hermes, vol. xxii. p. 423). It has often been observed that this phrase 
seems Egyptian on the face of it, and it certainly recalls such forms of expression as the following, 
taken from a formula frequently found on funerary stelre : " All things created by heaven, given by 
earth, brought by the Nile from its mysterious sources." Nevertheless, up to the present time, the 


Mediterranean to the Eed Sea. 1 Westward, the littoral followed closely the 
contour of the Libyan plateau ; but a long limestone spur broke away from it 
at about 31° N., and terminated in Cape Abûkîr. 2 The alluvial deposits first 
filled up the depths of the bay, and then, under the influence of the currents 
which swept along its eastern coasts, accumulated behind that rampart of sand- 
hills whose remains are still to be seen near Benha. Thus was formed a minia- * 
ture Delta, whose structure pretty accurately corresponded with that of the 
great Delta of to-day. Here the Nile divided into three divergent streams, 
roughly coinciding with the southern courses of the Rosetta and Damietta 
branches, and with the modern canal of Abû Meneggeh. The ceaseless accu- 
mulation of mud brought down by the river soon overpassed the first limits, 
and steadily encroached upon the sea until it was carried beyond the shelter 
furnished by Cape Abûkîr. Thence it was gathered into the great littoral 
current flowing from Africa to Asia, and formed an incurvated coast-line ending 
in the headland of Casios, on the Syrian frontier. From that time Egypt made 
no further increase towards the north, and her coast remains practically such 
as it was thousands of years ago : 3 the interior alone has suffered change, having 
been dried up, hardened, and gradually raised. Its inhabitants thought they 
could measure the exact length of time in which this work of creation had been 
accomplished. According to the Egyptians, Menés, the first of their mortal 
kings, had found, so they said, the valley under water. The sea came in almost 
as far as the Fayûm, and, excepting the province of Thebes, the whole country 
was a pestilential swamp. 4 Hence, the necessary period for the physical for- 
mation of Egypt would cover some centuries after Menés. This is no longer 
considered a sufficient length of time, and some modern geologists declare that 
the Nile must have worked at the formation of its own estuary for at least 
seventy-four thousand years. 5 This figure is certainly exaggerated, for the 

hieroglyphic -texts have yielded nothing altogether corresponding to the exact terms of the Greek 
historians — gift (Swpov) of the Nile, or its natural product (îpyov) (Aristotle, Meteorologica, i. 
14, 11). 

1 The formation of the Delta was studied and explained at length, more than forty years 
ago, by Elie de Beaumont, in his Leçons de Géologie, vol. i. pp. 405-492. It is from this book that 
the theories set forth in the latest works on Egypt are still taken, and generally without any 
important modification. 

2 See Elie de Beaumont, Leçons de Géologie, vol. i. p. 483, et seq., as to the part played in the 
formation of the coast-line by the limestone ridge of Abûkîr ; its composition was last described by 
Oscae Fkaas, Aus dem Orient, vol. i. pp. 175, 176. 

3 Elie de Beaumont, Leçons de Géologie, vol. i. p. 460 : " The great distinction of the Nile Delta 
lies in the almost uniform persistence of its coast-line. . . . The present sea-coast of Egypt is little 
altered from that of three thousand years ago." The latest observations prove it to be sinking and 
shrinking near Alexandria to rise in the neighbourhood of Port Said. 

4 Herodotus, ii. 4 ; cf. xcix. 

5 Others, as for example Schweinfurth (Bulletin de l'Institut Égyptien, l rc se'rie, vol. xii. p. 206), 
are more moderate in their views, and think " that it must have taken about twenty thousand years 
for that alluvial deposit which now forms the arable soil of Egypt to have attained to its present 
depth and fertility." 



alluvium would gain on the shallows of the ancient gulf far more rapidly 
than it gains upon the depths of the Mediterranean. But even though we 
reduce the period, we must still admit that the Egyptians little suspected the 
true age of their country. Not only did the Delta long precede the coming 
of Menés, but its plan was entirely completed before the first arrival of 
the Egyptians. The Greeks, full of the mysterious virtues which they 


attributed to numbers, discovered that there were seven principal branche*, 
and seven mouths of the Nile, and that, as compared with thesa, the rest 
were but false mouths. 1 As a matter of fact, there were only three chief 
outlets. The Canopic branch flowed westward, and fell into the Mediterranean 
near Cape Abûkîr, at the western extremity of the arc described by the 
coast-line. 2 The Pelusiac branch followed the length of the Arabian chaiu, 
and flowed forth at the other extremity ; and the Sebennytic stream almost 
bisected the triangle contained between the Canopic and Pelusiac channels. 
Two thousand years ago, these branches separated from the main river at 

1 ^fuSoiTT^iuaTo was the word used by the Alexandrian geographers and retained by Strabo 
(xvi. pp. 788, 801); cf. Pliny, if. Nat., v. 10: "Duodecim enim repperiuntur, superque quattuor, quaj 
ipsi/nîsa ora appellant." 

2 Lancret retraced the course of this branch, but death prevented him from publishing his 
discovery and an account of all which it involved (Lancret, Notice sttr la Branche Canopique, with 
an Addition by Jomard, in the Description de l'Égypte, vol. viii. pp. 19-26). 



the city of Cerkasoros, 1 nearly four miles north of the site where Cairo 
now stands. But after the Pelusiac branch had ceased to exist, the fork 
of the river gradually wore away the land from age to age, and is now 
some nine miles lower down. 2 These three great waterways are united by a 
network of artificial rivers and canals, and by ditches — some natural, others 
dug by the hand of man, but all ceaselessly shifting. They silt up, close, open 
again, replace each other, and ramify in innumerable branches over the surface 
of the soil, spreading life and fertility on all sides. As the land rises 
towards the south, this web contracts and is less confused, while black mould 
and cultivation alike dwindle, and the fawn-coloured line of the desert comes 
into sight. The Libyan and Arabian hills appear above the plain, draw 
nearer to each other, and gradually shut in the horizon until it seems as 
though they would unite. And there the Delta ends, and Egypt proper has 

It is only a strip of vegetable mould stretching north and south between 
regions of drought and desolation, a prolonged oasis on the banks of the 
river, made by the Nile, and sustained by the Nile. The whole length of the 
land is shut in between two ranges of hills, roughly parallel at a mean 
distance of about twelve miles. 3 During the earlier ages, the river filled all 
this intermediate space, and the sides of the hills, polished, worn, blackened 
to their very summits, still bear unmistakable traces of its action. Wasted, 
and shrunken within the deeps of its ancient bed, the stream now makes a way 
through its own thick deposits of mud. The -bulk of its waters keeps to the east, 
and constitutes the true Nile, the "Great Eiver"of the hieroglyphic inscriptions. 4 

1 According to Brugsch (Geogr. Ins., vol. i. pp. 244, 296), the name of Kerkasoros (Herodotus, 
ii. 15, 17, 97), or Kerkésûra (Strabo, xvii. p. 806), has its Egyptian origin in Kerk-osiri. But the 
Greek transcription of Kerk-osiri would have been Kerkosiris, of which Herr Wilcken has found the 
variant Kerkeusiris among names from the Fayûm (Wilcken, JEgyptische Eigennamen in Grie- 
chischen Texten, in the Zeitschrift fiir JEgyptische Sprache, 1883, p. 162). Herr Wilcken proposes 
to correct the text of Herodotus and Strabo, and to introduce the reading Kerkeusiris in place 
of Kerkasoros or Kerkésûra. Professor Erman considers that Kerkeusiris means The Habitation of 
Osiris, and contains the radical Korkû, Kerkû, which is found in Kerkesûkhos, Kerkéramsîsû- 
Miamûn, and in the modern name of Girgeh. The site of El-Akhsas, which D'Anville identified 
with that of Kerkasoros (Mémoires géographiques sur VÉgypte, p. 73), is too far north. The ancient 
city must have been situate in the neighbourhood of the present town of Embâbeh. 

s By the end of the Byzantine period, the fork of the river lay at some distance south of 
Shetnûfi, the present Shatanûf, which is the spot where it now is (Champollion, VÉgypte sous les 
Pharaons, vol. ii. pp. 28, 147-151). The Arab geographers call the head of the Delta Batn-el- 
Bagarah, the Cow's Belly. Ampère, in his Voyage en Egypte et en Nubie, p. 120, says, "May it not 
he that this name, denoting the place where the most fertile part of Egypt begins, is a reminiscence 
oi ihe Cow Goddess, of Isis, the symbol of fecundity, and the personification of Egypt ? " 

3 De Eozière estimated the mean breadth as being only a little over nine miles (De la constitution 
physique de l'Egypte et de ses rapports avec les anciennes institutions de cette contrée, in the Description 
de l'Egypte, vol. xx. p. 270). 

4 latûr-ââ, Iaûr-âû, which becomes Iar-o, Ial-o in the Coptic (Brugsch, Geogr. Ins., vol. i. pp. 
78, 79 ; and Dictionnaire Géographique, pp. 84-88). The word Phiala, by which Timaîus the mathe- 
matician designated the sources of the Nile (Pliny, Hist. Nat., v. 9 ; cf. Solinus, Polyhist., ch. xxxv.), 




A second arm flows close to the Libyan desert, here and there formed 
into canals, elsewhere left to follow its own course. From the head 
of the Delta to the village of Derût it is called the Bahr-Yûsuf; beyond 
Derût — up to Gebel Silsileh — it is the Ibrâhimîyeh, the Sohâgîyeh, the Raiân. 
But the ancient names are unknown to us. This Western Nile dries up 
in winter throughout all its upper courses : where it continues to flow, it 
is by scanty accessions from the main Nile. It also divides north of 
Henassieh, and by the gorge of Illahûn sends out a branch which passes 
beyond the hills into the basin of the Fayûm. The true Nile, the Eastern 
Nile, is less a river than a sinuous lake encumbered with islets and sandbanks, 
and its navigable channel winds capriciously between them, flowing with a 
strong and steady current below the steep, black banks cut sheer through the 
alluvial earth. There are light groves of the date-palm, groups of acacia 
trees and sycamores, square patches of barley or of wheat, fields of beans or of 
lersîm? and here and there a long bank of sand which the least breeze raises 
into whirling clouds. And over all there broods a great silence, scarcely 
broken by the cry of birds, or the song of rowers in a passing boat. Some- 
thing of human life may stir on the banks, but it is softened into poetry by 
distance. A half-veiled woman, bearing a bundle of herbs upon her head, is 
driving her goats before her. An irregular line of asses or of laden camels 
emerges from one hollow of the undulating road only to disappear within 
another. A group of peasants, crouched upon the shore, in the ancient posture 

is only this name lalo preceded by the masculine article phi, ph. Ptolemy the geographer translated 
the native name by an exact equivalent, à fiiyas hoto.ij.6s, the great river (Brugsch, op. cit., pp. 78, 79). 

1 From a drawing by Boudier, after a photograph by Insinger, taken in 1884. 

2 Bersim is a kind of trefoil, the Tri/olium Alexandrinum of Linn^us. It is very common in 
Egypt, and the only plant of the kind generally cultivated for fodder (Raffeneau-Delile, Histoire 
des plantes cultivées en Égyple, in the Description de VÉgypte, vol. xix. p. 59, sqq.). 


of knees to chin, patiently awaits the return of the ferry-boat. A dainty village 
looks forth smiling from beneath its palm trees. Near at hand it is all naked 


filth and ugliness : a cluster of low grey huts built of mud and laths ; two or 
three taller houses, whitewashed ; an enclosed square shaded by sycamores ; 


a few old men, each seated peacefully at his own door ; a confusion of fowls, 
children, goats, and sheep ; half a dozen boats made fast ashore. But, as we 

1-2 From drawings by Boudier, after photographs by Insinger, taken in 1886. 


pass on, the wretchedness all lades away ; meanness of detail is lost in 
light, and long before it disappears at a bend of the river, the village is again 
clothed with gaiety and serene beauty. Day by day, the landscape repeats 


itself. The same groups of trees alternate with the game fields, growing greeu 
or dusty in the sunlight according to the season of the year. With the 
same measured flow, the Nile winds beneath its steep banks and about its 


scattered islands. One village succeeds another, each alike smiling and sordid 
under its crown of foliage. The terraces of the Libyan hills, away beyond 
the Western Nile, scarcely rise above the horizon, and lie like a white 
edging between the green of the plain and the blue of the sky. The 

1-2 From drawings by Boudier, after photographs by Insinger, taken in 1882. 



Arabian hills do not form one unbroken line, but a series of mountain 
masses with their spurs, now approaching the river, and now with- 
drawing to the desert at almost regular intervals. At the entrance to the 
valley, rise Gebel Mokattam and Gebel el-Ahmar. Gebel Heniûr-Shemûl and 
Gebel Shêkh Embârak next stretch in echelon from north to south, and are 
succeeded by Gebel et-Têr, where, according to an old legend, all the birds of 
the world are annually assembled. 1 Then follows Gebel Abûfêda, dreaded by 
the sailors for its sudden gusts. 2 Limestone predominates throughout, white 
or yellowish, broken by veins of alabaster, or of red and grey sandstones. Its 
horizontal strata are so symmetrically laid one above another as to seem 
more like the walls of a town than the side of a mountain. But time has 
often dismantled their summits and loosened their foundations. Man has 
broken into their façades to cut his quarries and his tombs ; while the current 
is secretly undermining the base, wherein it has made many a breach. As 
soon as any margin of mud has collected between cliffs and river, halfah and 
wild plants take hold upon it, and date-palms grow there — whence their seed, 
no one knows. Presently a hamlet rises at the mouth of the ravine, among 
clusters of trees and fields in miniature. Beyond Shit, the light becomes 
more glowing, the air drier and more vibrating, and the green of cultivation 
loses its brightness. The angular outline of the dôm-palm mingles more and 
more with that of the common palm and of the heavy sycamore, and the 
castor-oil plant increasingly abounds. But all these changes come about so 
gradually that they are effected before we notice them. The plain continues 
to contract. At Thebes it is still ten miles wide ; at the gorge of Gebelên 
it has almost disappeared, and at Gebel Silsileh it has completely vauished. 
There, it was crossed by a natural dyke of sandstone, through which the 
waters have with difficulty scooped for themselves a passage. From this 
point, Egypt is nothing but the bed of the Nile lying between two 
escarpments of naked rock. 8 

1 In Makrizi's Description of Egypt, Bûlak Edition, vol. i. p. 31 (cfr. Bouriant, Topographie de 
l'Egypte, vol. i. p. 87), we read : " Every year, upon a certain day, all the herons (Boukîr, Ardea 
bubulcus of Cuvier) assemble at this mountain. One after another, each puts his beak into a cleft of 
the hill until the cleft closes upon one of them. And then forthwith all the others fly away. But 
the bird which has been caught struggles until he dies, and there his body remains until it has fallen 
into dust." The same tale is told by other Arab writers, of which a list may be seen in Etienne 
Quatremère, Mémoires historiques et géographiques sur l'Egypte et quelques contrées voisines, vol. i. 
pp. 31-33. It faintly recalls that ancient tradition of the Cleft at Abydos, whereby souls must pass, 
as human-headed birds, in order to reach the other world (Lefébure, Étude sur Abydos, in the 
Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, vol. xv. pp. 149, 150). 

2 Ebers, Cicerone durch das alte- und neu-JEgypten, vol. ii. pp. 157, 158. 

3 The gorge of Gebel Silsileh is about 3940 feet in length (P. S. Girard, Observations sur la vallée 
de l'Egypte et sur l'exhaussement séculaire du sol qui la recouvre, in the Description de VÊgypte, 
vol. xx. p. 35) ; its width at the narrowest point is 1G40 feet (Isambert, Égypte, p. 590). See De 
Kozière, De la Constitution physique de l'Egypte, in the Description de l' 'Égypte, vol. xxi. p. 26, et seq., 



Further on the cultivable land reappears, but narrowed, and changed almost 
beyond recognition. Hills, hewn out of solid sandstone, succeed each other at 
distances of about two miles, 1 low, crushed, sombre, and formless. Presently a 
forest of palm trees, the last on that side, announces Aswan and Nubia. Five 
banks of granite, ranged in lines between latitude 24° and 18° N., cross Nubia 
from east to west, and from north-east to south-west, like so many ramparts 
thrown up between the Mediterranean and the heart of Africa. The Nile 
has attacked them from behind, and made its way over them one after 


another in rapids which have been glorified by the name of cataracts. Classic 
writers were pleased to describe the river as hurled into the gulfs of Syene 
with so great a roar that the people of the neighbourhood were deafened by 
it. 3 Even a colony of Persians, sent thither by Cambyses, could not bear the 
noise of the falls, and went forth to seek a quieter situation. 4 The first cataract 
is a kind of sloping and sinuous passage six and a quarter miles in length, 
descending from the island of Philae to the port of Aswan, the aspect of its 
approach relieved and brightened by the ever green groves of Elephantinê. 

and the recent work of Chélu, Le Nil, le Soudan, l'Égypte, pp. 77, 78, with regard to the primeval 
barrier at Gebel Silsileh. Che'lu considers tbat it was broken through before the advent of man in 
Egypt, whereas Wilkinson (in Eawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii. p. 298), followed by A. Wiedemann 
(JEgyptische Geschichte, vol. ii. p. 255), maintains that it lasted until near the Hyksos or Shepherd times. 

1 P. S. Girard, Observations sur la valléi de V Egypte, in the Description de l'Egypte, vol. xx. pp. 
34, 35. With regard to the nature and aspect of the country between Gebel Silsileh and Aswan, 
see also De Kozière, Be la Constitution physique de l'Egypte, in the Description, vol. xxi. pp. 4-58. 

2 View taken from the hills opposite Elephantinê, by Insinger, in 1884. 

3 Jomard made a collection of such passages from ancient writers as refer to the cataracts 
(Description, vol. i. pp. 154-174). We can judge of the confidence with which their statements were 
still received at the close of the seventeenth century by looking through that curious little work De 
hominibus ad catadupas Nili obscurdescentibus, Consentiente Amplissimo Philosoplwrum Ordine, Publiée 
disputabunt Prxses M. J. Leonhardus Leszius, et respondens Jo. Bartholomews Lenzius, Marco- 
breitha-Franci, d. 24 Decembr., hdcxcix. In auditor io Minori. Witlebergx, Typis Christians 
Schrxdteri, Acad. Typis. 

4 Seneca, Quxst. Natural, ii. § 2. 


Beyond Elephantine are cliffs and sandy beaches, chains of blackened 
" roches moutonnées " marking out the beds of the currents, and fantastic reefs, 
sometimes bare, and sometimes veiled by long grasses and climbing plants, in 
which thousands of birds have made their nests. There are islets, too, occasion- 
ally large enough to have once supported something of a population, such as 
Amerade, Salûg, Sehêl. The granite threshold of Nubia is broken beyond 
Sehêl, but its debris, massed in disorder against the right bank, still seem to 
dispute the passage of the waters, dashing turbulently and roaring as they flow 
along through tortuous channels, where every streamlet is broken up into 
small cascades. The channel running by the left bank is always navigable. 


During the inundation, the rocks and sandbanks of the right side are com- 
pletely under water, and their presence is only betrayed by eddies. But on 
the river's reaching its lowest point a fall of some six feet is established, 
and there big boats, hugging the shore, are hauled up by means of ropes, 
or easily drift down with the current. 2 All kinds of granite are found 
together in this corner of Africa. There are the pink and red Syenites, 
porphyritic granite, yellow granite, grey granite, both black granite and 
white, and granites veined with black and veined with white. 3 As soon as 
these disappear behind us, various sandstones begin to crop up, allied to the 
coarsest calcaire grossier. The hills bristle with small split blocks, with 
peaks half overturned, with rough and denuded mounds. League beyond 

1 View taken from the southern point of the island of Philœ. From a photograph by Emit 

2 For a detailed description of the first cataract, see Josiard, Description de Syène et des cataractes, 
in the Description de l'Égypte, vol. i. pp. 144-154. 

3 De Bozière has scheduled and analyzed the Syene granites (De la Constitution physique de 
l'Égypte, in the Description de l'Égypte, vol. xxi. pp. 59-93). 



league, they stretch in low ignoble outline. Here and there a valley opens 
sharply into the desert, revealing an infinite perspective of summits and 
escarpments in echelon one behind another to the furthest plane of the 
horizon, like motionless caravans. The now confined river rushes on with 
a low, deep murmur, accompanied night and day by the croaking of frogs 
and the rhythmic creak of the sâkîeh. 1 Jetties of rough stone-work, made 
in unknown times by an unknown people, run out like breakwaters into mid- 


stream. 5 From time to time waves of sand are borne over, and drown the 
narrow fields of durra and of barley. Scraps of close, aromatic pasturage, 
acacias, date-palms, and dôm-palms, together with a few shrivelled sycamores, 
are scattered along both banks. The ruins of a crumbling pylon mark the 
site of some ancient city, and, overhanging the water, is a vertical wall of 
rock honeycombed with tombs. Amid these relics of another age, miserable 
huts, scattered hamlets, a town or two surrounded with little gardens are 
the only evidence that there is yet life in Nubia. South of Wâdy Halfah, 

1 The sâhîeh is made of a notch-wheel fixed vertically on a horizontal axle, and is actuated by 
various cog-wheels set in continuous motion by oxen or asses. A long chain of earthenware vessels 
brings up the water either from the river itself, or from some little brancli canal, and empties it into 
a system of troughs and reservoirs. Thence, it flows forth to be distributed over all the neighbouring 
land. Various elevators of the same type are drawn and described in the Description de l'Egypte, 
vol. xii. pp. 408-415, Atlas, Etat moderne, vol. ii., Arts et Metiers, pis. iii.-v. 

2 From a drawing by Boudier, after a photograph by Insingcr, taken in 1881. 

3 " Our progress was often stopped by jetties of rough stone stretching out into the middle of the 
river. Were they intended for raising the level of the Nile at the inundations? . . . They produce 
very rapid currents. Sometimes, when the boat has been heavily dragged as far as the projecting 
point, it cannot cross it. The men then turn aside, drawing the ropes after them, and take the boat 
back again a few hundred yards down the river" (H. Gammas and A. Lefèvre, La Vallée du Nil, 
p. 104). The positions of many of these jetties are indicated on Proeesch's map {Land zivischen den 
hleinen und grossen Kataralden des Nil. Astronomisch bestimmt und aufgenommen im Jahre 1827 
durch. ... A. von Prokesch, Vienna, C. Gerold). 



the second granite bank is broken through, and the second cataract spreads 
its rapids over a length of four leagues : the archipelago numbers more 
than 350 islets, of which some sixty have houses upon them and yield harvests 
to their inhabitants. 1 The main characteristics of the first two cataracts are 
repeated with slight vari- 
ations in the cases of the 
three which follow, — at 
Hannek, at Guerendid, 
and El-Hu-mar. 2 It is 
Egypt still, but a joy- 
less Egypt bereft of 
its brightness ; impov- 
erished, disfigured, and 
almost desolate. There 
is the same double wall 
of hills, now closely con- 
fining the valley, and 
again withdrawing from 
each other as though 
to floe into the desert. 
Everywhere are moving 
sheets of sand, steep 
black banks with their 
narrow strips of cultiva- 
tion, villages which are 
scarcely visible on ac- 
count of the lowness of 
their huts. The syca- 
more ceases at Gebel-Barkal, date-palms become fewer and finally disappear. 
The Nile alone has not changed. As it was at Philae, so it is at Berber. 
Here, however, on the right bank, 600 leagues from the sea, is its first 
affluent, the Takazze, which intermittently brings to it the waters of 
Northern Ethiopia. At Khartum, the single channel in which the river 
flowed divides ; and two other streams are opened up in a southerly direction, 

1 A list of the Nubian names of these rocks ami inlets has been somewbat incorrectly drawn up by 
J. J. Eifaud, Tableau de V Egypte, de la Nubie et des lieux circonvoisins, pp. 55-GO (towards the end 
of the volume, after the Vocabulaires). Rifaud only counted forty-four cultivated islands at the 
beginniug of tins century. 

2 The cataract system has been studied, and its plan published by E. de Gottberg (Des cataractes 
du Nil et socialement de celles de Hannek et de Kaybar, 1867, Paris, 4to), and later again by Chélu 
(Le Nil, le Soudan, l'Égypte, pp. 29-73). 

3 View taken from the top of the rocks of Abusîr, after a photograph by Insinger, in 1881. 




each, of them apparently equal in volume to the main stream. Which 
is the true Nile? Is it the Blue Nile, which seems to come down from 
the distant mountains ? Or is it the White Nile, which has traversed the 
immense plains of equatorial Africa. The old Egyptians never knew. The 
river kept the secret of its source from them as obstinately as it withheld 
it from us until a few years ago. Vainly did their victorious armies 
follow the Nile for months together as they pursued the tribes who dwelt 
upon its banks, only to find it as wide, as full, as irresistible in its progress 
as ever. It was a fresh-water sea, and sea — iaûmâ, iôma — was the name by 
which they called it. 1 

The Egyptians therefore never sought its source. They imagined the whole 
universe to be a large box, nearly rectangular in form, whose greatest diameter 
was from south to north, and its least from east to west. 2 The earth, with its 
alternate continents and seas, formed the bottom of the box ; it was a narrow, 
oblong, and slightly concave floor, with Egypt in its centre. 3 The sky 
stretched over it like an iron ceiling, flat according to some, 4 vaulted according 
to others. 5 Its earthward face was capriciously sprinkled with lamps hung 
lrom strong cables, 6 and which, extinguished or unperceived by day, were 
lighted, or became visible to our eyes, at night. 7 Since this ceiling could 
not remain in mid-air without support, four columns, or rather four forked 

1 Maspero, Les Contes populaires de l'Égypte ancienne, 2nd edition, pp. 20, 177. With regard to 
the ancient comparison of the Nile to a sea, see Letbonne, Recherches géographiques et critiques sur 
le livre " De Mensura Orbis Terrse," composé en Islande au commencement du IX e siècle par Dicuil; 
text, p. 25, § 8. For Arab authorities on the same subject, see S. de Sacv, Chrestomathie arabe, 2nd 
edition, vol. i. pp. 13-15. 

2 Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d' Archéologie égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 159-162, 330, et seq., and 
vol. ii. pp. 205-208 (cf. Bulletin de l'Institut égyptien, 2nd series, vol. vi. pp. 19, 20, and Revue de 
l'Histoire des Religions, vol. xviii. pp. 266-270). For analogous ideas, even in Byzantine times, see 
Letronne's memoir on the Opinions cosmographiques des Pères de l'Église (Œuvres choisies, 2nd 
series, vol. i. p. 382, et seq.). 

3 Horapollo, Hieroglyphica (Leemans' edition), i. xxi. p. 31 : r) AîyiwnW 777, iirû fiécn rrjs 
oÎKovfj.évris iirâpxei. Compare a fragment by Homer Trismegistus, in Stob^us, Eclog., i. 52 : 'Eireî 
5è iv Ttjî jxîacp rrfs *yîjs y tûv irpoyévwv 7)p.ûv Uporarn -^uipâ. ... A late hieroglyphic group is SO 
arranged as to express the same idea, and can be read the middle land. 

4 To my knowledge, Deveria was the first to prove that " the Egyptians believed that the sky was 
of iron or steel " (Th. Deveria, Le Fer et l'Aimant, leur nom et leur usage dans l'Ancienne Egypte, 
in the Mélanges d'archéologie, vol. i. pp. 9, 10). So well established was the belief in a sky-ceiling 
of iron, that it was preserved in common speech by means of the name given to the metal itself, viz. 
Bai-ni-pit (in the Coptic Benipi, benipe) — metal of heaven (Chacas, l'Antiquité historique, 1st edition, 
pp. 64-67). 

5 This is sufficiently proved by the mere form of the character ■— •>, used in the hieroglyphs for 
heaven, or the heavenly deities. 

6 Certain arched stelae are surmounted by the hieroglyph given in the preceding note, only in 
these cases it is curved to represent the vaulted sky. Brugsch has given several good examples of 
this conception of the firmament in his Religion und Mythologie der alien Mgypter, p. 203, et seq. 

' The variants of the sign for night — r?<?, "~JT — are most significant. The end of the rope to 
which the star is attached passes over the sky, »— «, and falls free, as though arranged for drawing a 
lamp up and down when lighting or extinguishing it. And furthermore, the name of the stars — 
khabisû — is the same word as that used to designate an ordinary lamp. 


trunks of trees, similar to those which maintained the primitive house, were sup- 
posed to uphold it. 1 But it was doubtless feared lest some tempest 2 should 
overturn them, for they were superseded by four lofty peaks, rising at the four 


cardinal points, and connected by a continuous chain of mountains. The Egyp- 
tians knew little of the northern peak : the Mediterranean, the " Very Green," 4 
interposed between it and Egypt, and prevented their coming near enough to 

Isolated, these pillars are represented under the form J, but they arc often found together as 

supporting the sky Y Y Y Y " CllUGSC1I > wuo was tae nrât to study their funclion, thought that 
all four were placed to the north, and that they denoted to the Egyptians the mountains of 
Armenia (Geographische Inschri/ten, vol. i. pp. 35-39). He afterwards recognized that they were 
set up at each of the four cardinal points, but thought that this conception of their use was not older 
than Ptolemaic times (G. Ins., vol. iii. pp. 53-55). Like all Egyptologists, he afterwards admitted that 
these pillars were always placed at the four cardinal points (Religion und Mythologie, pp. 201-202). 

2 The words designating hurricanes, storms, or any kind of cataclysm, are followed by the 
sign Hrrrf 1 , which represents the sky as detached and falling from its four supporting pillars. Ma- 
gicians sometimes threatened to overthrow the four pillars if the gods would not obey their orders. 

3 Section taken at Hermopolis. To the left, is the bark of the sun on the celestial river. 

4 The name of Uaz-oirit, the Very Greene, was first recognized by Birch (The Annals of Tholmes 
111., in Archxologia, vol. xxxv. p. 162, and p. 40 of the reprint); E. de Bougé (Notice de quelques 
textes hiéroglyphiques récemment publiés par M. Greene dans l'Athénxum Français, 1855, pp. 12-14 
of the reprint) ; and especially Brugsch (Geog. Insch., vol. i. pp. 37-40) completed this demonstration. 
The Bed Sea is called Qim-Oirit, the Very Black. 



see it. The southern peak was named Apit-to, 1 the Horn of the Earth ; that 
on the east was called Eâkhû, the Mountain of Birth ; and the western peak was 
known as Manû, sometimes as Onkhit, the Region of Life. 2 Bâkhû was not 
a fictitious mountain, but the highest of those distant summits seen from 
the Nile in looking towards the Red Sea. In the same way, Manû answered 
to some hill of the Libyan desert, whose summit closed the horizon. 3 When 
it was discovered that neither Bâkhû nor Manû were the limits of the world, 
the notion of upholding the celestial roof was not on that account given 
up. It was only necessary to withdraw the pillars from sight, and imagine 
fabulous peaks, invested with familiar names. These were not supposed 
to form the actual boundary of the universe ; a great river — analogous 
to the Ocean-stream of the Greeks — lay between them and its utmost limits. 
This river circulated upon a kind of ledge projecting along the sides of the 
box a little below the continuous mountain chain upon which the starry 
heavens were sustained. On the north of the ellipse, the river was bordered by 
a steep and abrupt bank, which took its rise at the peak of Manû on the west, 
and soon rose high enough to form a screen between the river and the earth. 
The narrow valley which it hid from view was known as Daït from remotest 
times. 4 Eternal night enfolded that valley in thick darkness, and filled it 
with dense air such as no living thing could breathe. 5 Towards the east the 
steep bank rapidly declined, and ceased altogether a little beyond Bâkhû, 
while the river flowed on between low and almost level shores from east to 
south, and then from south to west. 6 The sun was a disc of fire placed upon 
a boat. 7 At the same equable rate, the river carried it round the ramparts 

1 Compare the expressions, Notov xtpas, 'Ecrvépov népas, of the Greek geographers. Brugsch 
was the first to note that Apit-to is placed at the southern extremity of the world ((?. Ins., vol. i. 
pp. 35, 36 ; vol. iii. p. 52). He has hypothetically identified the Horn of the Earth with the 
Mountains of the Moon of the Arab geographers. I believe that the Egyptians of the great 
Theban period (eighteenth to twentieth dynasties) indicated by that name the mountain ranges of 
Abyssinia. In the course of their raids along the Blue Nile and its afHuents, they saw this group 
of summits from afar, but they never reached it. 

2 With regard to Bâkhû and Manû, see an article by Brugsch (Ueber den Ost- und Westpunht 
des Sonnenlaufes nach den altàgyptischen Vorstellungen, in the Zeitschrift, 1864, pp. 73-76), which is 
a digest of indications furnished by Dïïmichen. See also Brugsch, Die altâgyptische Volkertafel (in 
the Verhandlung des 5" Orientalisten Congresses, vol. ii., Afrikanische Sektion, pp. 62, 63), and Maspero, 
Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 6-8 (cf. Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, 
vol. xv. pp. 270-272). Brugsch places the mountain of Bakhû atGebel Zinûrûd.a little too far south. 

3 In Ptolemaic lists, Manû is localized in the Libyan nome of Lower Egypt, and ought to be 
found somewhere on the road leading through the desert to the Wàdy Natrûu (Brugsch, Dictionnaire 
géographique, p. 259). 

4 The name of Daït, and the epithet Daïti, " dweller in Daït," which is derived from it, are 
frequently met with in Pyramid texts. Hence they must belong to the older strata of the language. 

5 Kakûi samûi, Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 31 (cf. 
Bévue de l'Histoire des Beligions, vol. xvii. p. 274). 

6 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 16-18 (cf. la Bévue de l'His- 
toire des Beligions, vol. xviii. pp. 266-268, where all these conceptions are indicated for the first time). 

' So the native artists represented it ; as, for example, in several vignettes of the Book of the 
Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. xxx., cxliv.). 



of the world. From evening until morning it disappeared within the gorges 
of Dai't; its light did not then reach us, and it was night. From morning 
until evening its rays, being no longer intercepted by any obstacle, were 
freely shed abroad from one end of the box to the other, and it was day. The 
Nile branched off from the celestial river at its southern bend ; 1 hence the 
south was the chief cardinal point to the Egyptians, and by that they oriented 
themselves, placing sunrise to their left, and sunset to their right. 2 Before 
they passed beyond the defiles of Gebel Silsileh, they thought that the 
spot whence the celestial waters left the sky was situate between Elephantine 
and Philse, and that they descended in an immense waterfall whose last 
leaps were at Syene. It may be that the tales about the first cataract told 
by classic writers are but a far-off echo of this tradition of a barbarous 
age. 3 Conquests carried into the heart of Africa forced the Egyptians to 
recognize their error, but did not weaken their faith in the supernatural 
origin of the river. They only placed its source further south, 4 and sur- 
rounded it with greater marvels. They told how, by going up the 
stream, sailors at length reached an undetermined country, a kind of 
borderland between this world and the next, a "Land of Shades," whose 
inhabitants were dwarfs, monsters, or spirits. 5 Thence they passed into 
a sea sprinkled with mysterious islands, like those enchanted archi- 
pelagoes which Portuguese and Breton mariners were wont to see at times 
when on their voyages, and which vanished at their approach. These 
islands were inhabited by serpents with human voices, sometimes friendly 
and sometimes cruel to the shipwrecked. He who went forth from the 
islands could never more re-enter them : they were resolved into the 
waters and lost within the bosom of the waves. 6 À modern geographer 

1 The classic writers themselves knew that, according to Egyptian belief, the Nile flowed down 
from heaven : "Oaipts iaTiv ô NeÎAos, ou ovpauov KaratytpeaOat oïourat (PORPHYRY, in EcSEBITJS, Prasp. 
Evang., iii. 11, 54, et seq.). The legend of the Nile having its source in the ocean stream was but 
a Greek transposition of the Egyptian doctrine, which represented it as an arm of the celestial river 
whereon the sun sailed round the earth (Herodotus, ii. 21 ; Diodorus, i. 37). 

2 This Egyptian method of orientation was discovered by Chabas, Les Inscriptions des Mines d'or, 
1862, p. 32, et seq. 

' Maspeho, Etudes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 17, 18 (cf. Revue de 
r Histoire des Religions, vol. xviii. pp. 269, 270); cf. p. 11 of the present volume. 

4 It was perhaps a recollection of some such legend as this which led the Nubians speaking to 
Burckhardt, to describe the second cataract " as though falling from heaven" (Burckhardt, Travels 
in Nuhia, p. 78, note 2). There must have been a time when the sources of the Nile stopped near 
Wâdy Halfah, or Semneh, before receding further towards Central Africa. 

5 In the time of the sixth dynasty, in the account of the voyages of Hirkhûf, mention is made 
of The Land of Spirits (Schiapakelij, Una Tomba Egiziana inedila delta VI« Dinaslia con iscrizioni 
storiche e geografiche, pp. 21, 33, 34 ; cf. Maspero, Revue Critique, 1892, vol. ii. pp. 362, 366). The 
Land of Spirits was vaguely placed near the Land of Pûanit — that is to say, towards the Aromatifera 
Regio of the Grseco-Komau geographers. 

This is the subject of a tale which was discovered and published by M. Golénischeff, in 1881 
{Sur un ancien conte égyptien, 1881, Berlin), and in the Abhandlungen of the Oriental Congress at 
Berlin, African Section, pp. 100-122). See also Maspero, Les Contes popidaires de l'Ancienne Egypte, 
2nd edit., pp. 131-146. 



can hardly comprehend such fancies ; those of Greek and Roman times were 
perfectly familiar with them. They believed that the Nile communicated 
with the Red Sea near Suakin, by means of the Astaboras, and this was 
certainly the route which the Egyptians of old had imagined for their 
navigators. 1 The supposed communication was gradually transferred farther 
and farther south ; and we have only to glance over certain maps of the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, to see clearly drawn what the Egyptians 
had imagined — the centre of Africa as a great lake, whence issued the 
Congo, the Zambesi, and the Nile. 2 Arab merchants of the Middle Ages 
believed that a resolute man could pass from Alexandria or Cairo to 
the land of the Zindjes and the Indian Ocean by rising from river to 
river. 3 Many of the legends relating to this subject are lost, while other 
have been collected and embellished with fresh features by Jewish and 
Christian theologians. The Nile was said to have its source in Paradise, 
to traverse burning regions inaccessible to man, and afterwards to fall 
into a sea whence it made its way to Egypt. Sometimes it carried down 
from its celestial sources branches and fruits unlike any to be found on 
earth. 4 The sea mentioned in all these tales is perhaps a less extravagant 
invention than we are at first inclined to think. A lake, nearly as large 
as the Victoria Nyanza, once covered the marshy plain where the Bahr 
el-Abiad unites with the Sobat, and with the Bahr el-Ghazâl. Alluvial 
deposits have filled up all but its deepest depression, which is known as 
Birket Nû; but, in ages preceding our era, it must still have been vast 
enough to suggest to Egyptian soldiers and boatmen the idea of an actual 
sea, opening into the Indian Ocean. The mountains, whose outline was 
vaguely seen far to southward on the further shores, doubtless contained 
within them its mysterious source. 5 There the inundation was made ready, 

1 Of. Chassinat, Ça et là, § iii., in the Becueil de Travaux, vol. xvii. p. 53 ; and Maspero, Notes 
sur différents points de Grammaire et d'Histoire, § v., ibid., pp. 76-78. 

2 In Mémoires historiques et géographiques sur l'Egypte, vol. ii. pp. 22, 23, 181, et seq., Etienne 
Quatremèhe has collected various passages bearing on this subject, from the works of Arab writers. 
Even in 1859, Figari Bey admitted that the great equatorial lakes might send out "two streams, 
of which the one would flow westward, follow the northern valley, and rush down the great cataract 
of GebelEegef " to run into the Mediterranean. "The second would turn in the opposite direction, 
form the river of Melindus, which is some seventy-five leagues north of the equator," and open into 
the Indian Ocean (Figari Bey, Aperçu théorique de la Géographie géognostique de l'Afrique centrale, 
in the Mémoires de l'Institut Égyptien, vol. i. p. 108, and the map to p. 114). 

3 A. Kiecher, Œdipus JEgyptiacus, vol. i. p. 52 ; Letronne, Sur la situation du Paradis terrestre, 
in Œuvres choisies, 2nd series, vol. i. pp. 415-422. Joinville has given a special chapter to the 
description of the sources and wonders of the Nile, in which he believed as firmly as in an article 
of his creed (Histoire de Saint Louis, ch. xl.). As late as the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
Wendelinus devoted part of his Admiranda Nili (§ iii. pp. 27-37) to proving that the river did not 
rise in the earthly Paradise. At Gurnah, forty years ago, Ehind picked up a legend which stated 
that the Nile flows down from the sky (Thebes, its Tombs and their Tenants, pp. 301-304). 

4 Elisée Keclus, Nouvelle Géographie universelle, vol. x. p. 67, et seq. 

5 As to the Egyptian conception of the sources of the Nile, and the outcome of their ideas on 
the subject, see Maspero's remarks in Les Contes populaires, 2nd edit., p. xciii., et seq. 



and there it began upon a fixed day. The celestial Nile had its periodic 
rise and fall, on which those of the earthly Nile depended. Every year, 


towards the middle of June, Isis, mourning for Osiris, let fall into it 
one of the tears which she shed over her brother, and thereupon the river 
swelled and descended upon earth. 2 Isis has had no devotees for centuries, 

1 Facsimile of tho map published by Kircher in Œdipus JEgyptiacus, vol. i. (Iconismus II.), p. 53. 

2 The legend of the tears of Isis is certainly a very ancient one. During the embalmment, and 
then throughout all the funeral rites of Osiris, Isis and Nephthys had been the wailing women, 
and their tears had helped to bring back the god to life. Now, Osiris was a Nile god. "The 
night of the great flood of tears issuing from the Great Goddess" is an expression found in 
Pyramid texts (Unas, line 395), and is in all probability a reference to the Night of the Drop 
(Lepage-Kenodf, Nile Mythology, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archseology, vol. xiii. 
p. 9). Our earliest authentic form of the tradition comes to us through Patjsanias (x. 32, § 10): 
'EoucoVa 5è àvSpbs ijKovaa $o'iuikos &yeiv rrj "IcriSi Alyuirriovs r^v îoprr)V, ore avrfyv rhv " / 0<xipiv irévdeiv 
Kéyovai. TrjvtKavra Si Kal à NeîAos àva&aivtiv <r<t>i<Ttv apx 6Tat ) Ka ^ T ^" / «?r'X<op&»>' woWots ianv elpriixeva, 
ws Ta at/^ovra rov iroTafMov Kal &pSeiv ras àpovpas jtoioCcto baKpva èo"Ti rfjs "ImSor. The date of the 
phenomenon is fixed for us by the modern tradition which places the Night of the Drop in Juue 
(Brugsch, Matériaux pour servir à la construction du calendrier des anciens Égyptiens, p. 11, et seq.). 



and her very name is unknown to the descendants of her worshippers ; but the 
tradition of her fertilizing tears has survived her memory. Even to this day, 
every one in Egypt, Mussulman or Christian, knows that a divine drop falls 
from heaven during the night between the 17th and 18th of June, and forth- 
with brings about the rise of the Nile. 1 

Swollen by the rains which fall in February over the region of the Great 
Lakes, the White Nile rushes northward, sweeping before it the stagnant 
sheets of water left by the inundation of the previous year. On the left, 
the Bahr el-Ghazâl brings it the overflow of the ill-defined basin stretching 
between Darfûr and the Congo ; and the Sobat pours in on the right a tribute 
from the rivers which furrow the southern slopes of the Abyssinian mountains. 
The first swell passes Khartum by the end of April, and raises the water-level 
there by about a foot, then it slowly makes its way through Nubia, and dies 
away in Egypt at the beginning of June. Its waters, infected by half-putrid 
organic matter from the equatorial swamps, are not completely freed from it 
even in the course of this long journey, but keep a greenish tint as far as 
the Delta. They are said to be poisonous, and to give severe pains in the 
bladder to any who may drink them. Happily, this Green Nile does not last 
long, but generally flows away in three or four days, and is only the forerunner 
of the real flood. 2 The melting of the snows and the excessive spring rains 
having suddenly swollen the torrents which rise in the central plateau of 
Abyssinia, the Blue Nile, into which they flow, rolls so impetuously towards 
the plain that, when its waters reach Khartum in the middle of May, they 
refuse to mingle with those of the White Nile, and do not lose their peculiar 
colour before reaching the neighbourhood of Abu Hamed, three hundred 
miles below. From that time the height of the Nile increases rapidly day 
by day. The river, constantly reinforced by floods following one upon another 
from the Great Lakes and from Abyssinia, rises in furious bounds, and would 
become a devastating torrent were its rage not checked by the Nubian 
cataracts. Here six basins, one above another, in which the water collects, 
check its course, and permit it to flow thence only as a partially filtered and 
moderated stream. 3 It is signalled at Syene towards the 8th of J une, at Cairo 

1 Lane, Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, 4th edit., vol. ii. p. 224. The date varies, 
and the Fall of the Drop may take place either during the night of the 17th to 18th, of the 18th to 
19th, or of the 19th to 20th of June, according to the year. 

2 Sylvestre de Sacy has collected the principal Arabic and European texts bearing upon the 
Green Nile, in his Relation de VÉgypte par Abd-Allatif, pp. 332-338, 344-346. I am bound to say 
that every June, for five years, I drank this green water from the Nile itself, without taking any other 
precaution than the usual one of filtering it through a porous jar. Neither I, nor the many people 
living with me, ever felt the slightest inconvenience from it. 

3 The moderating effect of the cataracts has been judicially defined by E. de Gottbeeg in 
Des Cataractes du Nil, pp. 10, 11. 



by the 17th to the 20th, and there its birth is officially celebrated during the 
" Night of the Drop." 1 Two days later it reaches the Delta, just in time 
to save the country from drought and sterility. Egypt, burnt up by the 
Khamsin, a west wind blowing continuously for fifty days, seems nothing 
more than an extension of the desert. The trees are covered and choked 
by a layer of grey dust. About the villages, meagre and laboriously watered 
patches of vegetables struggle for life, while some show of green still 
lingers along the canals and in hollows whence all moisture has not yet 
evaporated. The plain lies panting in the sun — naked, dusty, and ashen — 
scored with intersecting cracks as far as eye can see. The Nile is only half 
its usual width, and holds not more than a twentieth of the volume of 
water which is borne down in October. It has at first hard work to recover 
its former bed, and . attains it by such subtle gradations that the rise is 
scarcely noted. It is, however, continually gaining ground ; here a sandbank 
is covered, there an empty channel is filled, islets are outlined where there 
was a continuous beach, a new stream detaches itself and gains the old shore. 
The first contact is disastrous to the banks; their steep sides, disintegrated 
and cracked by the heat, no longer offer any resistance to the current, 
and fall with a crash, in lengths of a hundred yards and more. As the 
successive floods grow stronger and are more heavily charged with mud, the 
whole mass of water becomes turbid and changes colour. In eight or ten 
days it has turned from greyish blue to dark red, occasionally of so intense 
a colour as to look like newly shed blood. The " Ked Nile " is not 
unwholesome like the " Green Nile," and the suspended mud to which it owes 
its suspicious appearance deprives the water of none of its freshness and 
lightness. It reaches its full height towards the 15th of July ; but the dykes 
which confine it, and the barriers constructed across the mouths of canals, 
still prevent it from overflowing. The Nile must be considered high enough 
to submerge the land adequately before it is set free. 2 The ancient Egyptians 

1 See the description of festivals and superstitious rites pertaining to The Drop, in Lane, Manners 
and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, 4th edit., vol. ii. p. 224. 

2 There are few documents to show what the Egyptians considered the proper height of a good 
inundation. However, we are told in a Ptolemaic inscription that at the moment when " in its own 
season the Nile comes forth from its sources, if it reaches to the height of twenty-four cubits (42 ft. 
6 in.) at Elephantine, then there is no scarcity ; the measure is not defective, and it comes to 
inundate the fields " (Brugsch, Angabe einer Nilhohe nach Ellen in einem Hieroglyphischen Texte, 
in the Zeitschrift, 1865, pp. 43, 44). Another text (Brugsch, Die Biblischen sieben Jahre der 
Hungersnoth, p. 153) fixes the height to be registered by the nilometcr at Elephantinê at twenty-eight 
cubits, and at seven, by the nilometer of Diospolis, in the Delta. The height of twenty-four cubits, 
taken from the nilometer at Elephantinê, is confirmed by various passages from ancient and modern 
writers. The indications given in my text are drawn from the nilometer of Eoda, as being that 
from which quotations are usually made. In computing the ancient levels of the rising Nile at 
Memphis, I have adopted the results of the calculations undertaken by A. de Kozière, De la 
constitution physique de l'Egypte, in the Description, vol. xx. pp. 351-381. He shows from Le Père 



measured its height by cubits of twenty-one and a quarter inches. At 
fourteen cubits, they pronounced it an excellent Nile ; below thirteen, or 
above fifteen, it was accounted insufficient or excessive, and in either case 
meant famine, and perhaps pestilence at hand. To this day the natives 
watch its advance with the same anxious eagerness ; and from the 3rd of 
July, public criers, walking the streets of Cairo, announce each morning 
what progress it has made since evening. 1 More or less authentic traditions 
assert that the prelude to the opening of the canals, in the time of the 
Pharaohs, was the solemn casting to the waters of a young girl decked as for 
her bridal — the "Bride of the Nile." 2 Even after the Arab conquest, the 
irruption of the river into the bosom of the land was still considered as an 
actual marriage; the contract was drawn up by a cadi, and witnesses con- 
firmed its consummation with the most fantastic formalities of Oriental 
ceremonial. 3 It is generally between the 1st and 16th of July that it is 
decided to break through the dykes. When that proceeding has been 
solemnly accomplished in state, the flood still takes several days to fill the 
canals, and afterwards spreads over the low lands, advancing little by little 
to the very edge of the desert. Egypt is then one sheet of turbid water 
spreading between two lines of rock and sand, flecked with green and black 
spots where there are towns or where the ground rises, and divided into 
irregular compartments by raised roads connecting the villages. In Nubia 
the river attains its greatest height towards the end of August ; at Cairo and 
in the Delta not until three weeks or a month later. For about eight days it 
remains stationary, and then begins to fall imperceptibly. Sometimes there 
is a new freshet in October, and the river again increases in height. But the 
rise is unsustained ; once more it falls as rapidly as it rose, and by December 
the river has completely retired to the limits of its bed. One after another, 
the streams which fed it fail or dwindle. The Tacazze is lost among 
the sands before rejoining it, and the Blue Nile, well-nigh deprived of 

{Mémoire sur la vallée du Nil et sur le nilomètre de l'ih de lloudàh, in the Description, vol. xviii. 
p. 555, et seq.) that the increase in the number of cubits is only apparent, and that the actual rise 
is almost invariable, although the registers of the nilometers advance from age to age. A table of 
most of the known rises, both ancient and modern, is to be found in the recent work of Chélu, I.e 
Nil, le Soudan, V Egypte, pp. 81-93. 

1 In his Manners and Customs, 4th edit., vol. ii. pp. 225-236, Lane described the criers of the 
Nile. Their proclamations have scarcely changed since his time, excepting that the introduction of 
steam-power has supplied them with new images for indicating the rapidity of the rise. 

2 G. Lumbroso has collected the principal passages in ancient and modern writers relating to 
Tlie Bride of the Nile, in L'Egitto al tempo dei Greci e dei Romani, pp. 6-10. This tradition furnished 
G. Ebeks with material for a romance called Die Nilbraut, wherein he depicts Coptic life during the 
first years of Arab rule with much truth and vivacity. 

3 Sylvestre de Sacy, Le Livre des Étoiles errantes, par le Scheilch Schemseddin Mohammed Un 
Abilsorûr al-Balceri al-Sadihi, in the Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits, vol. i. p. 275. 



tributaries, is but scantily maintained by Abyssinian snows. The White Nile is 
indebted to the Great Lakes for the greater persistence of its waters, which 
feed the river as far as the Mediterranean, and save the valley from utter 
drought in winter. But, even with this resource, the level of the water falls 
daily, and its volume is diminished. Long-hidden sandbanks reappear, and 
are again linked into continuous line. Islands expand by the rise of shingly 
beaches, which gradually reconnect them with each other and with the shore. 
Smaller branches of the river cease to flow, and form a mere network of stag- 
nant pools and muddy ponds, which fast dry up. The main channel itself is 
only intermittently navigable ; after March boats run aground in it, and are 
forced to await the return of the inundation for their release. From the 
middle of April to the middle of June, Egypt is only half alive, awaiting 
the new Nile. 1 

Those ruddy and heavily charged waters, rising and retiring with almost 
mathematical regularity, bring and leave the spoils of the countries they 
have traversed : sand from Nubia, whitish clay from the regions of the 
Lakes, ferruginous mud, and the various rock-formations of Abyssinia. 2 These 
materials are not uniformly disseminated in the deposits ; their precipitation 
being regulated both by their specific gravity and the velocity of the current. 
Flattened stones and rounded pebbles are left behind at the cataract between 
Syene and Keneh, while coarser particles of sand are suspended in the 
undercurrents and serve to raise the bed of the river, or are carried out to 
sea and form the sandbanks which are slowly rising at the Damietta and 
Rosetta mouths of the Nile. The mud and finer particles rise towards the 
surface, and are deposited upon the land after the opening of the dykes. 3 
Soil which is entirely dependent on the deposit of a river, and periodically 
invaded by it, necessarily maintains but a scanty flora ; and though it is well 
known that, as a general rule, a flora is rich in proportion to its distance from 
the poles and its approach to the equator, it is also admitted that Egypt offers 
an exception to this rule. At the most, she has not more than a thousand 

1 The main phases of the rise are chiefly described from the very full account of Le Père, 
Mémoire sur la vallée du Nil et le nilomètre de Vide de Boudah, m the Description de l'Egypte, vol. 
xviii. pp. 555-645. 

2 All manner of marvels were related by the ancients as to the nature and fertilizing properties 
of the waters of the Nile. A scientific analysis of these waters was first made by Kegnaut, Analyse 
de l'eau du Nil et de quelque* eaux salées, in the Décade égyptienne, vol. i. pp. 261-271. The resuit 
of the most recent examination is to be found, in great detail, in Chéltj's work, Le Nil, le Soudan, 
V Egypte, pp. 177-179. 

3 On the nature and movements of the alluvial deposits, see P. S. Girard, Observations sur la 
vallée d'Egypte et sur ? exhaussement séculaire du sol qui la recouvre, in the Description de l'Égypte, 
vol. xix. p. 140, sqq. ; and E. de Eozière, De la constitution physique de VEgyple et de ses rap- 
ports avec les anciennes institutions de cette contrée, in the Description de l'Egypte, vol. xx. p. 328, 
et seq. 



species, while, with equal area, England, for instance, possesses more than fifteen 
hundred ; 1 and of this thousand, the greater number are not indigenous. 
Many of them have been brought from Central Africa by the river ; birds 
and winds have continued the work, and man himself has contributed his part 
in making it more complete. 2 From Asia he has at different times brought 
wheat, bailey, the olive, the apple, the white or pink almond, and some twenty 
other species now acclimatized on the banks of the Nile. Marsh plants pre- 
dominate in the Delta ; but the papyrus, and the three varieties of blue, 
white, and pink lotus which once flourished there, being no longer cultivated, 
have now almost entirely disappeared, and reverted to their original habitats. 3 
The sycamore and the date-palm, both importations from Central Africa, 
have better adapted themselves to their exile, and are now fully natural- 
ized on Egyptian soil. The sycamore 4 grows in sand on the edge of the 
desert as vigorously as in the midst of a well-watered country. Its roots 
go deep in search of water, which infiltrates as far as the gorges of 
the hills, and they absorb it freely, even where drought seems to reign 
supreme. The heavy, squat, gnarled trunk occasionally attains to colossal 
dimensions, without ever growing very high. Its rounded masses of com- 
pact foliage are so wide-spreading that a single tree in the distance may 
give the impression of several grouped together ; and its shade is dense, and 
impenetrable to the sun. A striking contrast to the sycamore is presented 

1 Gay-Lussac, Du sol égyptien, in the Bulletin de V Institut égyptien, 2nd aeries, vol. ii. p. 221. 
Raffeneau-Delile (Flora: JEgyptiacx lllustratio, in the Description del' Égypte, vol. xix. pp. 09-114) 
enumerates 1030 species. Wilkinson (Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. ii. p. 403) counts about 1300, 
of which 250 are only to he found in the desert, thus bringing down the number belonging to Egypt 
proper to (he figures given by Delile and Gay-Lussac. Ascherson and Schweinfurth (Illustration 
de la Flore d'Egypte, in the Mémoires de l'Institut égyptien, vol. ii. pp. 25-260) have lately raised the 
list to 1200, and since then fresh researches have brought it up to 1313 (Schweinfurth, Sur la Flore 
des anciens jardins arabes, in the Bullet in de l'Institut Egyptien, 2nd series, vol. viii. p. 331). Coque- 
bert had already been struck by the poverty of the Egyptian flora as compared with that of France 
(Réflexions sur quelques points de comparaison à établir entre les plantes d'Egypte et celles de France, 
in the Description de V Égypte, vol. xix. pp. 8, 0). 

2 A. Raffenau-Delile, Mémoire sur les plantes qui croissent spontanément en Egypte, in the 
Description de l'Egypte, vol. xix. p. 23, et seq. Schweinfurth, Végétaux cultivés en Egypte et qui se 
retrouvent à l'état spontané dans le Soudan et dans l'intérieur de l'Afrique, in the Bulletin de l'Institut 
Egyptien, 1st series, vol. xii. p. 200, et seq. 

3 For the lotus in general, see Raffenau-Delile, Flore d'Egypte (in the Description, vol. xix. pp. 
415-435), and F. Wœnig, Die Pflanzen im Alten Mgypten, pp. 17-74. The white lotus, Nymphxa 
lotus, was called soshini in Egyptian (Loret, Sur les noms égyptiens du lotus, in the Recueil de Tra- 
vaux, vol. i. pp. 191, 192, and La Flore pharaonique d'après les documents hiéroglyphiques et les spéci- 
mens découverts dans les tombes, No. 129, pp. 53-55). The blue lotus, Nymphxa cxrulea, the most 
frequent in tomb scenes (Schweinfurth, De la Flore pharaonique, in the Bulletin de l'Institut 
Egyptien, 2nd series, vol. iii. p. 60, et seq.), was called sarpedû (Loret, Sur les noms égyptiens, in 
the Recueil de Travaux, vol. i. p. 194). The rose lotus was called nakhabû, nahbû (ibid., pp. 192, 
193). Pleyte (Die Fgyptische Lotus, p. 9) thinks that this last kind was introduced into Egypt 
somewhat late, towards the time of Darius and Xerxes. 

4 F. Wœnig, Die Pflanzen im Alten Mgypten, pp. 280-292, has made a fairly exhaustive collection 
of ancient and modern material referring to the Egyptian sycamore (nûhit, nûhe). 



by the date-palm. 1 Its round and slender stem rises uninterruptedly to 
a height of thirteen to sixteen yards; its head is crowned with a cluster 
of flexible leaves arranged in two or three tiers, but so scanty, so pitilessly 
slit, that they fail to keep off the light, and cast but a slight and 
unrefreshing shadow. Few trees have so elegant an appearance, yet 


few are so monotonously elegant. There are palm trees to be seen on 
every hand ; isolated, clustered by twos and threes at the mouths of 
ravines and about the villages, planted in regular file along the banks of 
the river like rows of columns, symmetrically arranged in plantations, 
— these are the invariable background against which other trees are 
grouped, diversifying the landscape. The feathery tamarisk 3 and the 

1 A. Eaffenau-Delile, Flore d'Egypte, in the Description de l'Égypte, vol. xx. pp. 435-448. The 
Egyptians called the date-palm baûnirit, baûnit (Loret, Étude sur quelques arbres égyptiens, in the 
Becueil de Travaux, vol. ii. pp. 21-26). 

2 From a drawing by Boudier, after a photograph by Insinger, taken in 1881. 

3 The Egyptian name for the tamarisk, asari, asri, is identical with that given to it in Semitic 
languages, both ancient and modern (Loret, La Flore pharaonique, No. 88, p. 88). -This would 
suggest the question whether the tamarisk did not originally come from Asia. In that case it must 
have been brought to Egypt from remote antiquity, for it figures in the Pyramid texts. Bricks of 
Nile mud, and Memphite and Theban tombs, have yielded us leaves, twigs, and even whole branches 
oî the tamarisk (Schweinfdrth, Les dernières Découvertes botaniques dans les anciens tombeaux de 
l'Égypte, in the Bulletin de l'Institut égyptien, 2nd series, vol. vi. p. 283). 



nabk, 1 the moringa, 2 the carob, 3 or locust tree, several varieties of acacia 
and mimosa — the sont, 4 the mimosa habbas, 5 the white acacia, 6 the Acacia 
Farnesiana 7 — and the pomegranate tree, 8 increase in number with the distance 
from the Mediterranean. The dry air of the valley is marvellously suited 
to them, but makes the tissue of their foliage hard and fibrous, imparting an 
aërial aspect, and such faded tints as are unknown to their growth in other 
climates. 9 The greater number of these trees do not reproduce themselves 
spontaneously, and tend to disappear when neglected. The Acacia Seyal, 10 
formerly abundant by the banks of the river, is now almost entirely con- 
fined to certain valleys of the Theban desert, along with a variety of the 
kernelled dôm-palm, 11 of which a poetical description has come down to 

1 The nabéca, or nabk, Zizyphus Spina Christi, Desf., is the nûbsû of the ancient Egyptian lists 
(Loret, La Flore pharaonique, No. 112, pp. 44, 45; Dumichen, in Moldenke, Ueber die in alt- 
JEgyplischen Texten eruahnten Baume, pp. 108, 109, note; Maspero, Notes au jour le jour, § 12, in the 
Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 1890-91, vol. xiii. pp. 496-501). The fruit and 
wood of the tree has been found in tombs, more especially in those of the twentieth dynasty (Schwein- 
furth, Les dernières Découvertes, in the Bidletin de l'Institut égyptien, 2nd series, vol. v. p. 260. 

2 The Moringa aptera, from which Ben oil is obtained, the myrobalanum of the ancients, was 
called bâhhû, and its oil is mentioned in very early texts (Loret, Recherches sur plusieurs plantes 
connues des anciens Egyptiens, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. vii. pp. 103-106; and La Flore 
pharaonique, No. 95, pp. 39, 40). For its presence in Theban tombs, see Schweinfurth, Les 
dernières Découvertes, in the Bulletin de l'Institut égyptien, 2nd series, vol. vi. p. 270. 

3 The carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua, was called dûnraga, tenralca (Loret, La Flore pharaonique, 
No. 96, p. 40; and Recueil de Travaux, vol. xv. pp. 120-130). Unger thought that he had found some 
remains of it in Egyptian tombs (Die Pflanzen des Allen JEgyptens, p. 132), but Schweinfurth (Sur 
la Flore des anciens jardins arabes d'Egypte, in the Bulletin de l'Institut égyptien, 2nd series, vol. viiL 
pp. 306, 334, 335) does not admit his testimony. 

4 The sont tree, in ancient Egyptian, shondû, shonti, has long been identified with the Acacia 
Nilotica, Del. Its history may be found in Schweinfurth's memoir, Aufzahlung und Beschreibung 
der Acacia-Arten des Nil-Gebiets, in Linnxa, xxxv. (new series, i.) pp. 333, 334. 

5 Mimosa habbas, A. Eaffenau-Delile, Florx JEgyptiacx Elustratio, in the Description de V Egypte, 
vol. xix. p. 111. 

6 The Acacia albida is still not uncommon on the ancient site of Thebes, near Medînet Habû 
(Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. ii. p. 405, note 2). 

' This is the acacia bearing bunches of feathery and fragrant yellow flowers, and known in the 
South of France as the cassia tree. It is common throughout the Nile valley. Loret thinks that 
its hairy seeds were called pirshonû and sennârû (Le Kyphi, parfum sacré des anciens Egyptiens, pp. 
52-54 ; and La Flore pharaonique, No. 94, p. 39). But did the tree exist in Egypt in Pharaonic times ? 

8 The pomegranate tree does not appear on Egyptian monuments before the time of the eighteenth 
dynasty; perhaps it was first introduced into Egypt about that time. It is occasionally represented 
(Champollion, Monuments, pi. clxxiv. ; Lepsius, Denkm., iii. 48), and the flowers have been found 
in several Theban tombs (Schweinfurth, Les dernières Découvertes botaniques, in the Bulletin de 
l'Institut égyptien, 2nd series, vol. vi. p. 268). Both Lohet (Recherches sur plusieurs plantes connues 
des anciens Egyptiens, in the Recueil, vol. vii. pp. 108-111) and Moldenke (Anrhemen, Pomegranate 
Tree, in Etudes archéologiques dédiées ù M. Leemans, pp. 17, 18, and Ueber die in den altdgyptischen 
Texten ericàhnten Baume, pp. 114, 115) have recovered its ancient Egyptian name of anhrama, anhramon. 

9 A. Eaffenau-Delile, Mémoire sur les plantes qui croissent spontanément en Egypte, in the 
Description, vol. xix. pp. 35, 36. 

10 The Acacia Seyal is probably the âshû of ancient texts (Loret, Les arbres ash, sib, et shent, in 
the Recueil, vol. ii. p'. 60, et seq., and La Flore pharaonique, No. 93, p. 39 ; Moldenke, Ueber die in 
allagyptischen Texten ertcahnten Baume, pp. 87-92). 

11 This is the Hyphxne Argun, Mart., or the Medemia Argun, Hooker, called by the ancients 
Mama ni Ithanini, or kernelled dôm-palm (Loret, Étude sur quelques arbres égyptiens, in the Recueil, 
vol. ii. pp. 21-26, and La Flore pharaonique, No. 29, p. 16 ; Moldenke, Ueber die in allagyptischen 
Texten eruàhnten Baume, pp. 71-73). Its fruit is occasionally found in Theban tombs (Unger, Die 


us from the Ancient Egyptians. 1 The common dôm-palm 2 bifurcates at 
eight or ten yards from the ground ; these branches are subdivided, and 
terminate in bunches of twenty to thirty palmate and fibrous leaves, six to 


eight feet long. At the beginning of this century the tree was common in 
Upper Egypt, but it is now becoming scarce, and we are within measurable 
distance of the time when its presence will be an exception north of the first 
cataract. Willows 4 are decreasing in number, and the persea, 5 one of the 
sacred trees of Ancient Egypt, is now only to be found in gardens. None of 
the remaining tree species are common enough to grow in large clusters ; and 
Egypt, reduced to her lofty groves of date-palms, presents the singular 

Pflanzen des Alten JEgyptens, p. 107 ; Schweinfurth, Ueber Pflanzenreste aus allagyptischen Gràbern, 
in the Berichte des Deutschen Botanischen Gesellscha/t, 1884, p. 3(59) 

1 First Sallier Papyrus, pi. viii. lines 4, 5. 

2 Mama is the Egyptian name for the dôm-palm (Hyphxne Thebaica of Mart.), and its fruit was 
called qûqû (Loret, Etude sur quelques arbres Égyptiens, in the Becueil, vol. ii. pp. 21-26). The 
tree itself lias been fully described by IUffenau-Dklile, Description du palmier-doum de la Haute 
Egypte ou Cucifera Thebaica, in the Description de VÉgypte, vol. xx. p. 11, et seq. 

* From a drawing by Boudier, after a photograph by Insinger, taken in 1884. 

4 Known to-day as the Salix safsaf, Forsk. In Ancient Egyptian, it was called tarit, tore (Loiiet, 
La Flore pharaonique, No. 42, p. 20). Its leaves were used for making the funerary garlands so 
common in Theban tombs of the eighteenth to twentieth dynasties (Schweinfdrth, Ueber Pjlanzen- 
reste aus altâgyptischen Griibern, in the Berichte der D. Bot. Ges., 1884, p. 369). 

5 Eaffenau-Delile, Flore d'Égyple, in the Description de VÉgypte, vol. xix. pp. 263-280, identified 
the persea, or Ancient Egyptian shaûaba, with the Balanites A^gyptiaca, Del., the lebahh of mediaeval 
Arab writings. Schweinfurth has shown that it was the Mimusops Schimeperi, Hociist. (Ueber 
Pflanzenreste, p. 364). 



spectacle of a country where there is no lack of trees, but an almost entire 
absence of shade. 1 

If Egypt is a land of imported flora, it is also a land of imported fauna, 

and all its animal species have 
been brought from neighbouring 
countries. Some of these — as, for 
example, the horse 2 and the camel 3 
— were only introduced at a com- 
paratively recent period, two thou- 
sand to eighteen hundred years 
before our era ; the camel still later. 
The animals — such as the long and 
short-horned oxen, together with 
varieties of goats and dogs — are, 
a she-ass and her foal. 4 like the plants, generally of African 

origin, 5 and the ass of Egypt pre- 
serves an original purity of form and a vigour to which the European donkey 
has long been a stranger. 6 The pig and the wild boar, 7 the long-eared hare, 
the hedgehog, the ichneumon, 8 the moufflon, or maned sheep, innumerable 

' E. de Rozière, De la constitution physique de VÉgypte, in the Description de VÉgypte, vol. xx. 
pp. 280, 281. 

2 To the best of my knowledge, Prisse d'Avennes was the first to publish facts relating to the 
history of the horse in Egypt, Des Chevaux chez les anciens Egyptiens, in Perron's Abou-Bekr ibn-Bedr 
le Naçèri, la Perfection des deux arts, ou Traite' d'hippiatrique, 1852, vol. i. p. 128, et seq. They were 
republished by Fr. Lenormant, Notes sur un voyage en Egypte, 1870, pp. 2-4, and unsuccessfully 
contested by Chabas, Études sur l'Antiquité' historique, 2nd edit., p. 421, et seq. M. Lefébure (Sut 
l'Ancienneté' du cheval en Egypte, in L'Annuaire de la Faculté des lettres de Lyon, 2nd year, pp. 1-11, 
and again Le Nom du cheval, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 1889-90, 
vol. xii. pp. 449-456) has since endeavoured to show, but without success, that the horse was known 
in Egypt under the twelfth dynasty, and even earlier. The most complete information with regard 
to the history of the horse in Egypt is to be found in the work of C.-A. Piètrement, Les Chevaux 
dans les temps préhistoriques et hittoriques, 1883, p. 459, et seq. 

3 The camel is never found on Egyptian monuments before the Sa'ite period, and was certainly 
unknown in Egypt throughout preceding ages. The texts in which M. Chabas thought that he had 
found its name are incorrectly translated, or else they refer to other animals, perhaps to mules 
(Chabas, Études sur l'antiquité historique, 2ud edit., p. 397, et seq. ; compare also W. Hoightox, 
Was the Camel known to the Ancient Egyptians ? in the Proceedings Soc. Bib. Arch., 1889-90, vol. 
xii. pp. 81-84). 

4 Scene from the tomb of Ti, drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after a photograph by Dùmicheï,-, 
Resultate der Photographisch-Archxologischen Expedition, vol. ii. pi. x. 

5 Fa. Lenormant, Sur les animaux employe's par les anciens Egyptiens à la chasse et à la guerre, 
1870, first and second notes, as republished in the first volume of his Premières civilisations. 

6 Fr. Lenormant, Sur l'antiquité de l'âne et du cheval, in the Notes sur un voyage en Egypte, pp. 
2-4. The African origin of the donkey was first brought to light by H. Milne-Edwards, in the 
Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences, 1869, vol. lxix. p. 1259. 

7 The pig is rarely represented on Egyptian monuments. Fr. Lenormant (Sur l'introduction et 
la domesticité du porc chez les anciens Égyptiens, p. 2) thought it unknown under the first dynasties. 
Nevertheless there are instances of its occurrence under the fourth dynasty (Lepsivs, Denkm., ii. 5 ; 
and Petrie, Medum, p. 39, and pi. xxi.). 

• The ichneumon was called khatûrû, khatûl, ehaiûl, in Egyptian (Lefébure, Le Nom Égyptien 



gazelles, including the Egyptian gazelles, and antelopes with lyre-shaped horns, 
are as much West Asian as African, like the carnivorse of all sizes, whose 
prey they are — the wild cat, the wolf, the jackal, the 
striped and spotted hyenas, the leopard, the panther, the 
hunting leopard, and the lion. 1 On the other hand, most 
of the serpents, large and small, are indigenous. Some 
are harmless, like the colubers; others are venomous, such 
as the scytale, the cerastes, the haje viper, and the asp. 
The asp was worshipped by 
the Egyptians under the 
name of urseus. 2 It occa- 
sionally attains to a length 
of six and a half feet, and 
when approached will erect 
its head and inflate its throat 
in readiness for darting for- 
ward. The bite is fatal, like 
that of the cerastes ; birds 
are literally struck down by 
the strength of the poison, 
while the great mammals, 
and man himself, almost in- 
variably succumb to it after a longer or shorter death-struggle. 4 The urseus 
is rarely found except in the desert or in the fields ; the scorpion crawls every- 
where, in desert and city alike, and if its sting is not always followed by death, 
it invariably causes terrible pain. Probably there were once several kinds 
of gigantic serpent in Egypt, analogous to the pythons of equatorial Africa. 
They are still to be seen in representations of funerary scenes, but not elsewhere; 5 

de V ichneumon, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 1884-85, vol. vii. pp. 

1 Only two complete memoirs in which the ancient and modern Egyptian fauna are compared 
together are known to me. One is by Rosellini (Monumenti civili, vol. i. pp. 202-220), and the other 
is by R. Hartmann (Versuch einer systematischen Aufzdhlung der von der alien JEgyplern bildlich 
dargestellten Thiere, mit Rucltsicht auf die heulige Fauna des Nilgebietes, in the Zeitschrift, 1864, pp. 
7-12, 19-28). There is also a too brief uoto by Mariette, in the Bulletin de l'Institut égyptien, 1st 
series, vol. xiv. pp. 57-66). 

2 Aurait, ûrâit, transcribed in Greek as Ovpaios (Hokapollo, Hieroglyph tea, book i. § 1, Leemans' 
edition, p. 2). 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from pi. iii. of the Reptiles-Supplément to the Description de V Egypte. 
* The venomous serpents of Egypt have been described by Isidore Geoffroy Saint- Hilaire in 

the Description, vol. xxiv. pp. 77-96. The effects of their poisons have been studied by Du. 
Pancieri, Esperienze intorno agli effetti del veleno délia Naja Egiziana e délie Ceraste, Naples, 1873, 
and Bulletin de l'Institut égyptien, 1st series, vol. xii. pp. 187-193; vol. xiii. pp. 89-92. 

5 As, for example, in the Book of the Dead (Naville, Todtenbuch, vol. i. pi. liv., and p. 188 
of the Introduction), and in composite mythological scenes from royal Theban tombs (Lefébure, 
Tombeau de Séti F r , in the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire, vol. ii., 2nd part, pis. x., xl., xli., xliii., etc ). 





for, like the elephant, the giraffe, 1 and other animals which now only thrive 
far south, they had disappeared at the beginning of historic times. The 
hippopotamus long maintained its ground before returning to those equatorial 
regions whence it had been brought by the Nile. Common under the first 
dynasties, but afterwards withdrawing to the marshes of the Delta, it there 
continued to flourish up to the thirteenth century of our era. 2 The crocodile, 
which came with it, has, like it also, been compelled to beat a retreat. Lord 
of the river throughout all ancient times, worshipped and protected in some 
provinces, execrated and proscribed in others, it might still be seen in the 
neighbourhood of Cairo towards the beginning of our century. 3 In 1840, it no 
longer passed beyond the neighbourhood of Gebel et-Têr, 4 nor beyond that 
of Manfalût in 1849. 5 Thirty years later, Mariette asserted that it was 
steadily retreating before the guns of tourists, and the disturbance which the 
regular passing of steamboats produced in the deep waters. 6 To-day, no one 
knows of a single crocodile existing below Aswan, but it continues to infest 
Nubia, and the rocks of the first cataract : 7 one of them is occasionally carried 
down by the current into Egypt, where it is speedily despatched by the 
fellâhîn, or by some traveller in quest of adventure. The fertility of the soil, 8 

The exactitude with which, the characteristic details of certain kinds are drawn, shows that the 
Egyptians had themselves seen the originals of the monstrous serpents which they depicted 
(Maspeeo, Études de Mythologie égyptienne, vol. i. p. 32, No. 3 ; cf. the Bévue de l'Histoire des 
Religions, vol. xv. p. 29G). 

1 In texts of the fifth and sixtii dynasties, the sign of the elephant is used in writing AM, the 
name of the town and island of Elephantinê (Inscription d' Uni, 1. 38, in Mariette's Abydos, vol. ii. 
pi. 48 ; cf. Schiapaeelli, Una Tomba Egiziana médita délia VI a Dinastia, p. 23, 1. 5) ; from that time 
onward, it is so clumsily drawn as to justify the idea that the people of Aswan henceforth saw the 
beast itself but rarely. The sign of the giraffe appears as a syllabic, or as a determinative, in 
several words containing the sound sarû, sorû. 

2 Silvestee de Sact, Relation de l' Egypte par Abd-Allatif, pp. 143-145, 165, 166. The French 
consul, Du Maillet, noticed one of these animals near Damietta, at the beginning of the eighteenth 
century (Le Masceiee, Description de l'Egypte, p. 31). Bdeckhaedt (Travels in Nubia, p. 62) relates 
that in 1812 a troop of hippopotami passed the second cataract, and descended to Wâdy Halfeh and 
Dêrr. One of them was carried along by the current, came down the rapids at Aswân, and was 
seen at Dêraû, a day's march north of the first cataract. 

3 Shortly afterwards, Isidoiîe Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire stated that "they are now no longer 
to be found in all the hundred leagues of the Lower Nile, and can only be seen as high up the 
river as Thebes " (Description des crocodiles d'Égypte in the Description de l'Egypte, vol. xxiv. p. 408). 
He was mistaken, as is proved by the evidence of several later travellers. 

4 Marmont mentioned them as being still there, near to the Convent of the Pulley ( Voyages du 
duc de Raguse, vol. iv. p. 44). 

5 Bayle St.-John, Village Life in Egypt, with Sketches of the Said, vol. i. p. 268. In Le Nil, 
by Maxime Ducamp, p. 108, there is an Arab legend (about 1849) professing to explain why crocodiles 
cannot pass below Shêkh Abadêh. The legend cited by Bayle St.- John was intended to show why 
they remained between Manfalût and Asyût. 

6 Mariette, Itinéraire des invités aux fêtes de l'inauguration du canal de Suez, 1869, p. 175. 

' In 1883, 1 saw several stretched out on a sandbank, a few hundred yards from the southern 
point of the island of Elephantinê. The same year, two had been taken alive by the Arabs of the 
cataract, who offered them for sale to travellers. 

8 The birds of modern Egypt have been described by J.-C. Savigny, Système des oiseaux de l'Egypte 
et de la Syrie, in the Description de l'Egypte, vol. xxiii. p. 221, et seq. In pis. vii.-xiv. of his 
Monunienti civili, Kosellini has collected a fair number of drawings of birds, copied from the tombs 



and the vastness of the lakes and marshes, attract many migratory birds ; 
passerinae and palmipedes flock thither from all parts of the Mediterranean. 
Our European swallows, our quails, our geese and wild ducks, our herons — to 
mention only the most familiar — 
come here to winter, sheltered from 
cold and inclement weather. Even 
the non-migratory birds are really, 
for the most part, strangers acclima- 
tized by long sojourn. Some of them — the 
turtledove, the magpie, the kingfisher, the 
partridge, and the sparrow — may be classed 
with our European species, while others be- 
tray their equatorial origin in the brightness 
of their colours. White and black ibises, 1 
red flamingoes, pelicans, and cormorants 
enliven the waters of the river, and animate 
the reedy swamps of the Delta in infinite 
variety. They are to be seen ranged in 
long files upon the sand-banks, fishing 
and basking in the sun; suddenly the flock -7 T^'i^f^^} 1 1 ' „1^£? <^1kc 
is seized with panic, rises heavilv, and 


settles away further off. In hollows of 

the hills, eagle and falcon, the merlin, the bald-headed vulture, the kestrel, 
the golden sparrow-hawk, find inaccessible retreats, whence they descend upon 
the plains like so many pillaging and well-armed barons. A thousand little 
chattering birds come at eventide to perch in flocks upon the frail boughs 
of tamarisk and acacia. Many sea-fish make their way upstream to swim 
in fresh waters — shad, mullet, perch, and the labrus — and carry their excur- 
sions far into the Said. 3 Those species which are not Mediterranean came 
originally, and still come annually, from the heart of Ethiopia with the rise 
of the Nile, including two kinds of Alestes, the soft-shelled turtle, the Bagrus 

of Thebes and Beni Hasan (cf. the text in vol. i. of the Monumenti civili, pp. 146-190). Loret has 
offered some most ingenious identifications of names inscribed upon the ancient monuments with 
various modern species {Notes sur la Faune pharaonique, in the Zeitschrift, vol. xxx. pp. 24-30). 

1 Facts relating to the ibis have been collected by Cuvier, Mémoire sur l'ibis des anciens Egyptiens, 
in the Annales du Muséum d'histoire naturelle, 1804, vol. iv. p. 116, et seq. ; and by J. C. Savigny, 
Histoire naturelle et mythologique de l'ibis. An extract from the lutter is reprinted in the Description 
de l'Égypte, vol. xxiii. p. 435, et seq. One ancient species of ibis is believed to have disappeared 
from Egypt, and is now only to be met with towards the regions of the Upper Nile. But it may still 
be represented by a few families in the great reedy growths encumbering the western part of Lake 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Oiseaux, pl. vii. 1, in the Commission d'Egypte. 

3 Herodotus, ii. 93. His mistakes on this head are corrected by Isidore Geoffroy Saint- 
Hilaire in the Description de l'Égypte, vol. xxiv. p. 255. 



docmac, and the mormyrus. 1 Some attain to a gigantic size, the Bagrus bayad 
and the turtle 2 to about one yard, the latus to three and a half yards in length, 8 



while others, such as the silurus 4 (cat-fish), are noted for their electric pro- 
perties. Nature seems to have made the fahâka (the globe-fish) in a fit of 

playfulness. It is a long 
fish from beyond the cata- 
racts, and it is carried by 
the Nile the more easily on 
account of the faculty it has 
of filling itself with air, and 
inflating its body at will. 
When swelled out immode- 
rately, the fahâka over- 
balances, and drifts along upside down, its' belly to the wind, covered with 
spikes so that it looks like a hedgehog. During the inundation, it floats with 
the current from one canal to another, and is cast by the retreating waters 
upon the muddy fields, where it becomes the prey of birds or of jackals, or 
serves as a plaything for children. 5 

Everything is dependent upon the river : — the soil, the produce of the soil, 
the species of animals it bears, the birds which it feeds : and hence it was the 
Egyptians placed the river among their gods. 6 They personified it as a man with 

1 Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Histoire naturelle des poissons du NU, in the Description de 
l'Éqypte, vol. xxiv. pp. 181, 335, et seq. 

2 Trionyx JEgyptiacus ; cf. Loret, Notes sur la Faune pharaonique, in the Zeitsehrift, vol. xxx. p. 25. 

3 Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Histoire naturelle de poissons du Nil, in the Description de 
V Egypte, vol. xxiv. pp. 279, 326, 327. In Egyptian, the Latus niloticus was called âhû, the warrior 
(Pétrie, Medura, pl. xii., and p. 38). The illustration on p. 37 represents a particularly fine specimen. 

4 The nârû of the Ancient Egyptians (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 75, note 4), described 
by Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire {Histoire naturelle des poissons du Nil, in the Description de 
V Egypte, vol. xxiv. pp. 299-307). 

5 Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Histoire naturelle des poissons du Nil, in the Description de V Egypte, 
vol. xxiv. pp. 176-217. The most complete list of the fishes of the Nile known to me is that of A. B. 
Clot-Bey, Aperçu générale sur l'Égypte, vol. i. pp. 231-234 ; but the Arab names as given in that 
list are very incorrect. 

6 In his Pantheon JEgyptiorum, vol. ii. pp. 139-176, 214-230, 231-258, Jablonski has collecteil all 




regular features, and a vigorous and portly body, such as befits the rich of high 
lineage. His breasts, fully developed like those of a woman, though less firm, 
hang heavily upon a wide bosom where the fat lies in folds. A narrow girdle, 
whose ends fall free about the 
thighs, supports his spacious 
abdomen, and his attire is com- 
pleted by sandals, and a close- 
fitting head-dress, generally sur- 
mounted with a crown of water- 
plants. Sometimes watersprings 
from his breast ; sometimes he 
presents a frog, or libation 
vases ; 1 or holds a bundle of the 
cruces ansatse? as symbols of 
life ; or bears a flat tray, full of 
offerings — bunches of flowers, 
ears of corn, heaps of fish, and 
geese tied together by the feet. The inscriptions call him, " Hâpi, father of 
the gods, lord of sustenance, who maketh food to be, and covereth the two 
lands of Egypt with his products ; who giveth life, banisheth want, and filleth 
the granaries to overflowing." 1 He is evolved into two personages, one being 
sometimes coloured red, aud the other blue. The former, who wears a cluster 
of lotus-flowers upon his head, presides over the Egypt of the south ; the 
latter has a bunch of papyrus for his head-dress, and watches over the 
Delta. 5 Two goddesses corresponding to the two Hâpis — Mirit Qimâit for 
Upper, and Mirit Mihit for Lower Egypt — personified the banks of the river. 

the data to be obtained from classic writers concerning the Nile-god. The principal hieroglyphic 
texts referring to this deity are to be found in Arundale-Bonomi-Birch, Gallery of Antiquities 
selected from the British Museum, pp. 25-2G, pi. xiii. ; Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., 
vol. iii. pl. xliv. pp. 20G-210; Brugsch, Geogr. Inschriften, vol. i. pp. 77-79, and Beligion und 
Mythologie der alten JEgypter, pp. G38-G41 ; Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia Egizia, pp. 514-525, 
pis. cxcviii., cxcix. 

1 Champollion, Monuments de l'Egypte, pl. cxxxiii. 1 ; Rosellini, Monurnenti del Culto, pis. 
xxv., xxvii. 

s Wilkinson, Materia, ser. 11, pi. xlii., No. 3; and Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. 
pi. xliv., No. 3. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudiu, from a Medûna painting. Petrie, Median, pi. xii. 

* Arundale-Bonomi-Birch, Gallery of Antiquities, pi. xii. ; Lepsius, Auswahl der wichtigsten 
Urlcunden des JEgyptifchen Altherthums, pi. xv. c. 

5 Champollion, Monuments, pi. ccc. ; Rosellini, Monurnenti Storici, pi. xxxix. ; Lepsius, Denlcm., 
iii. 7. Wilkinson (Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. p. 209) was the first who suggested 
that this god, when painted red, was the Red (that is, the High) Nile, and, when painted blue, 
was to be identified with the Low Nile. This opinion has since been generally adopted (Rosellini, 
Mon. Stor., part i. p. 229, note 2 ; Arundale-Bonomi-Birch, Gallery, p. 25) ; but to me it does not 
appear so incontrovertible as it has been considered. Here, as in other cases, the difference in colour 
is only a means of making the distinction between two personages obvious to sight. 



They are often represented as standing with outstretched arms, as though 
begging for the water which should make them fertile. 1 The Nile-god 
had his chapel in every province, and priests whose right 
it was to bury all bodies of men or beasts cast up by the 
river ; for the god had claimed them, and to his servants they 
belonged. 2 Several towns were dedicated to him : Hâthâpi, 

Nûit-Hâpi, Nilopolis. 3 It 
was told in the Thebai'd how 
the god dwelt within a grotto, 
or shrine (tophit), in the island 
of Biggeh, whence he issued 
at the inundation. This tra- 
dition dates from a time when 
the cataract was believed to 
be at the end of the world, 
andtobring down the heavenly 
river upon earth. 4 Two yawn- 
ing gulfs (qorîti), at the foot 
of the two granite cliffs 
[monîti) between which it 
ran, gave access to this 
mysterious retreat. 6 A bas- 
relief from Philse represents blocks of stone piled one 
above another, the vulture of the south and the hawk of the north, each perched 
on a summit, and the circular chamber wherein Hapi crouches concealed, 
clasping a libation vase in either hand. A single coil of a serpent outlines 
the contour of this chamber, and leaves a narrow passage between its over- 



1 These goddesses are represented in Wilkinson, Materia Hieroglyphica, ser. 12, pi. xlvii., part i., 
and Mamiers and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. pp. 230-232, pi. liii. 2; and in Lanzone, Dizionario 
di Mitologia, pp. 317, 318, pis. xv., cxxx. The functions ascribed to them in Ihe text were recognized 
by Maspero, Fragment d'un commentaire sur le Livre II. d' Hérodote, ii. 28, p. 5 (cf. Annales de la 
Faculté des lettres de Bordeaux, vol. ii., 1880). 

2 Herodotus, ii. 90 ; cf. Wiedemann's Herodots Zweites Buch. pp. 364, 365. 

3 Brugsch, Dictionnaire géographique, pp. 483-488, 13H8. Nilopolis is mentioned by Stephanas 
of Byzantium (s.v. NeÎAos), quoting from Hecat^eus op Miletus (fragment 277 iu Mulleu-Didot's 
Fragm. Hist. Grxc, vol. i. p. 19)- 

4 See above, p. 19, for an account of this tradition. 

5 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after a statue in the British Museum. The dedication of this statue 
took place about 880 b.c. The giver was Sheshonqu, bigli-priest of Amou in Thebes, afterwards 
King of Egypt under tbe name of Sbeshhonqû II., and he is represented as standing behind the leg of 
the god, wearing a panther skin, with both arms upheld in adoration. The statue is mutilated : the 
end of the nose, the beard, and part of the tray bave disappeared, but are restored in the illustration. 
The two little birds hanging alongside the geese, together with a bunch of ears of corn, are fat quails. 

6 The most important passage in this connection is to be found in Maspero, Mémoire sur quelque» 
papyrus du Louvre, pp. 99, 100 ; reproduced by Brugsch in the Dictionnaire géographique, pp. 860, 861. 



Japping head and tail through which the rising waters may overflow at the time 
appointed, bringing to Egypt "all things good, and sweet, and pure," whereby 
gods and men are fed. Towards the 
summer solstice, at the very moment 
when the sacred water from the gulfs 
of Syene reached Silsileh, the priests 
of the place, sometimes the reigning 
sovereign, or one of his sons, sacrificed 
a bull and geese, and then cast into 
the waters a sealed roll of papyrus. 
This was a written order to do all 
that might insure to Egypt the bene- 
fits of a normal inundation. 1 When 
Pharaoh himself deigned to officiate, 
the memory of the event was pre- 
served by a stela engraved upon the 
rocks. 2 Even in his absence, the 
festivals of the Nile were amonsr the 
most solemn and joyous of the land. 3 
According to a tradition transmitted 
from age to age, the prosperity or 
adversity of the year was dependent 
upon the splendour and fervour with 


which they were celebrated. Had 

the faithful shown the slightest lukcwarmness, the Nile might have refused 

1 Questions relating to the flowing of the first waters of the rising Nile past Silsileh have been 
treated of by Brugsch, Matériaux pour servir à la reconstruction du calendrier des anciens Egyptiens, 
p. 37, et seq., and especially by E. de Rougé, Sur le nouveau système propose" par M. Brugsch pour 
l'interprétation du calendrier égyptien, in the Zeitschrift, 1866, pp. 3-7. It was probably some 
tradition of this custom which gave birth to the legend telling how the Klialîf Omar commanded the 
river in writing that it should bring about a propitious inundation for the land of Egypt (Mourtadi, 
Les Merveilles de l'Egypte, translation by Pieure Vattier, pp. 165-167). 

2 Of these official stehe, the three hitherto known belong to the three Pharaohs: Ramses II. 
(Champollion, Notices, vol. i. p. 641, et seq. ; Lepsius, Denhm., iii. 175 a), Mînephtah (Champollion, 
Monuments, pi. cxiv. ; Rosellini, Monum. Storici., pp. 302-304, and pi. cxx. 1 ; Lepsius, Denkm., iii. 
200 d ; Brugsch, Recueil de monuments, vol. ii. pi. lxxiv. 5, 6, and pp. 83, 84), and Ramses III. 
(Champollion, Monuments, pi. civ.; Lepsius, Denhm. iii. 217 d). They have been translated by 
L. Stern, Die NiUtele von Gebel Silsileh, in the Zeitschrift, 1873, pp. 125-135. 

3 The Nile festivals of the Graco-Roman period have been described by Heliodorus, the romance 
writer, JElhiopica, book ix. § 9. His description is probably based upon the lost works of some 
Ptolemaic author. 

* The shrine of the Nile is reproduced from a bas-relief in the small temple of Phila), built by Trajan 
and his successors (Wilkinson, Materia Hieroglyphiea, ser. 11, pi. xlii. fig. 4 ; Champollion, Monuments, 
pl.xciii. 1 ; Rosellini, Monumenti del Culto, pi. xxvii. 3 ; Dûmichkn, Geogr. Ins., vol. ii. pi. lxxix.). The 
window or door of this temple opened upon Biggeh, and by comparing the drawing of the Egyptian artist 
witli the view from the end of the chamber, it is easy to recognize the original of his cliff silhouette in 
the piled-up rocks of the island. By a mistake of the modern copyist's, his drawing faces the wrong way. 



to obey the command and failed to spread freely over the surface of the 
country. Peasants from a distance, each bringing his own provisions, ate 
their meals together for days, and lived in a state of brutal intoxication as 
long as this kind of fair lasted. On the great day itself, the priests came 
forth in procession from the sanctuary, bearing the statue of the god along 
the banks, to the sound of instruments and the chanting of hymns. 1 

" I. — Hail to thee, Hâpi ! — who appearest in the land and comest — to give 
life to Egypt ; — thou who dost hide thy coming in darkness — in this very day 
whereon thy coming is sung, 2 — wave, which spreadest over the orchards created 
by Ra — to give life to all them that are athirst — who refusest to give drink 
unto the desert — of the overflow of the waters of heaven ; 8 as soon as thou 
descendest,— Sibû, the earth-god, is enamoured of bread, — Napri, the god 
of grain, presents his offering, — Phtah maketh every workshop to prosper. 4 

" II. — Lord of the fish ! as soon as he passeth the cataract — the birds no 
longer descend upon the fields ; — creator of corn, maker of barley, — he pro- 
longeai the existence of temples. — Do his fingers cease from their labours, 
or doth he suffer ? — then are all the millions of beings in misery ; — doth he 
wane in heaven? then the gods — themselves, and all men perish; 

" III. — The cattle are driven mad, and all the world — both great and small, 
are in torment ! — But if, on the contrary, the prayers of men are heard at his 
rising — and (for them) he maketh himself Khnûmû, 5 — when he ariseth, then 
the earth shouts for joy, — then are all bellies joyful, — each back is shaken 
with laughter, — and every tooth grindeth. 

" IV. — Bringing food, rich in sustenance, — creator of all good things, — lord 

1 The text of this hymn has been preserved in two papyri in the British Museum ; the second Sallier 
papyrus {Select Papyri, vol. i. pl. xxi. 1. G, pi. xxiii.) and the seventh Anastasi papyrus (ibid., pi. cxxxiv. 
1, 7, pi. cxxxix.). It has been translated in full by Maspero (Hymne au Nil, 1868 ; cf. Histoire 
ancienne des peuples de l'Orient, 4th edit., pp. 11-13); by Fk. Cook (Records of the Past, 1st series, 
vol. iv. p. 105, et seq.) ; by Amélineau (Bibliothèque de l'École des hautes éludes, Section des sciences 
religieuses, vol. i. pp. 341-371) ; and by Gdieysse (Recueil de Travaux, vol. xiii. pp. 1-26). Some 
few strophes have been turned into German by Brugsch (Religion und Mythologie, pp. 639-641). 

2 Literally, " Concealing the passage through darkness — on the day of the songs of passing." 
The text alludes to the passage of the celestial river giving issue to the Nile through the dim regions 
of the West. The origin of the god is never revealed, nor yet the day on which he will reach Egypt 
to inundate the soil, and when his wave is greeted with the song of hymns. 

3 Literally, " To let the desert drink of the overflow of heaven, is his abhorrence ! " The orchards 
created by Ra are naturally favoured of the Nile-god ; but hill and desert, which are Set's, are 
abhorrent to the water which comes down from heaven, and is neither more nor less than the flowing 
of Osiris. Cf. p. 21, note 3. 

4 Freed from mythological allusions, the end of this phrase signifies that at the coming of the 
waters the earth returns to life and brings forth bread; the corn sprouts, and all crafts flourish 
under the auspices of Phtah, the artificer and mason-god. 

s Literally, " Answered are men when he sends forth (his waters), being in the form of Khnûmû." 
Khnûmû, lord of Elephantine and of the cataract, is a Nile-god, and inasmuch as he is a supreme 
deity, he has formed the world of alluvial earth mingled with his waters. In order to comprise 
within one image all that the Nile can do when rising in answer to the prayers of men, the Egyptian 
poet states that the god takes upon himself the form of Khnûmû ; that is to say, he becomes a 
creator for the faithful, and works to make for them all good things out of his alluvial earth. 



of all seeds of life, pleasant unto his elect, — if his friendship is secured — he 
produceth fodder for the cattle, — and he provideth for the sacrifices of all the 


gods, — finer than any other is the incense which cometh from him; — he taketh 
possession of the two lands — and the granaries are filled, the storehouses are 
prosperous, — and the goods of the poor are multiplied. 

" V. — He is at the service of all prayers to answer them, — withholding 
nothing. To make boats to be that is his strength. 2 — Stones are not sculptured 
for him — nor statues whereon the double crown is placed ; — he is unseen ; — no 
tribute is paid unto him and no offerings are brought unto him, — he is not 
charmed by words of mystery ; — the place of his dwelling is unknown, nor 
can his shrine be found by virtue of magic writings; 

" VI. — There is no house large enough for thee, — nor any who may penetrate 
within thy heart ! — Nevertheless, the generations of thy children rejoice in thee 
— for thou dost rule as a king — whose decrees are established for the whole earth, 
— who is manifest in presence of the people of the South and of the North, — 
by whom the tears are washed from every eye, — and who is lavish of his bounties. 

"VII. — Where sorrow was, there doth break forth joy — and every heart 
rejoiceth. Sovkû, the crocodile, the child of Nit, leaps for gladness ; 3 — for 
the Nine gods who accompany thee have ordered all things, — the overflow 

1 From a drawing by Faucher-Gudin, after a photograph by Be'ato. 

2 Literally, "He makes prosperity (sûrûd) at the bâton (er khit) of all wishes, withholding 
nothing: to cause boats (ammiï) to be, that is his strength." It was said of a man or a thing which 
depended on some high personage— as, for example, on the Pharaoh or high priest of Anu-n, 
that he or it was at the bâton (er hint) of the Pharaoh or high priest. Our author represents the 
Nile as putting itself at the bâton of all wishes to make Egypt prosperous. And since the traffic of 
the country is almost entirely carried on by water, he immediately adds that the forte of the Nile, 
that in which it best succeeds, lies in supplying such abundance of riches as to oblige the dwellers 
by the river to build boats enough for the freight to be transported. 

3 The goddess Nit, the heifer born from the midst of the primordial waters, had two crocodiles 
as her children, which are sometimes represented on the monuments as hanging from her bosom. 
Both the part played by these animals, and the reason for connecting them with the goddess, are 
still imperfectly understood. 



giveth drink unto the fields— and maketh all men valiant ; — one man taketh 
to drink of the labour ot another, — without charge being brought against 
him. 1 

" IX. — If thou dost enter in the midst of songs to go forth in the midst of 
gladness, 2 — if they dance with joy when thou comest forth out of the unknown, 
— it is that thy heaviness 3 is death and corruption. — And when thou art 
implored to give the water of the year, — the people of the Thebaïd and 
of the North are seen side by side, — each man with the tools of his trade, — 
none tarrieth behind his neighbour; — of all those who clothed themselves, 
no man clotheth himself (with festive garments) — the children of Thot, the 
god of riches, no longer adorn themselves with jewels, 4 — nor the Nine gods, 
but they are in the night ! — As soon as thou hast answered by the rising, — 
each one anointeth himself with perfumes. 

" X. — Establisher of true riches, desire of men, — here are seductive words 5 
in order that thou mayest reply ; — if thou dost answer mankind by waves of 
the heavenly Ocean, — Napri, the grain-god, presents his offering, — all the gods 
adore (thee), — the birds no longer descend upon the hills ; — though that which 
thy hand formeth were of gold — or in the shape of a brick of silver, — it is not 
lapis-lazuli that we eat, — but wheat is of more worth than precious stones. 

" XL — They have begun to sing unto thee upon the harp, — they sing unto 
thee keeping time with their hands, — and the generations of thy children 
rejoice in thee, and they have filled thee with salutations of praise ; — for it is 
the god of Riches who adorneth the earth, — who maketh barks to prosper in 
the sight of man — who rejoiceth the heart of women with child — who loveth 
the increase of the flocks. 

" XII. — When thou art risen in the city of the Prince, — then is the rich 
man filled — the small man (the poor) disdaineth the lotus, — all is solid and of 
good quality, — all herbage is for his children. — Doth he forget to give food ? — 
prosperity forsaketh the dwellings, — and earth falleth into a wasting sickness." 

1 This is an allusion to the quarrels and lawsuits resulting from the distribution of the water in 
years when the Nile was poor or bad. If the inundation is abundant, disputes are at an end. 

2 Here again the text is corrupt. I have corrected it by taking as a model phrases in which it 
is said of some high personage that he comes before the king amid words of praise, and goes forth in 
the midst of songs — âqû khir mûditû pirû khir hositû (c. 26 of the Louvre, in Pierket, Recueil 
des inscriptions inédites, vol. ii. p. 25, 1. 5). The court of Egypt, like that of Byzantium, had its 
formula? of songs and graduated recitatives to mark the entrance and departure of great person- 
ages ; and the Nile, which brings the inundation, and comes forth from unknown sources, is compared 
with one of these great personages, and hailed as such according to the rules of etiquette. 

3 The heaviness of the god here means the heaviness of his waters, the slowness and difficulty 
with which they rise and spread over the soil. 

4 See Brogsch, Religion und Mythologie, p. 441, on the ideutity of Shopsu, the god of riches, 
with Thot, the ibis or cynocephalus, lord of letters and of song. 

* Literally, "delusive words." The gods were cajoled with promises which obviously could never 
be kept ; and in this case the god allowed himself to be taken in all the same, and answered thera 
by the inundation. 



The word Nile is of uncertain origin. 1 We have it from the Greeks, and 
they took it from a people foreign to Egypt, either from the Phoenician?, the 
Khîti, the Libyans, or from people of Asia Minor. When the Egyptians them- 
selves did not care to treat their river as the god Hâpi, they called it the sea, 
or the great river. 2 They had twenty terms or more by which to designate the 
different phases which it assumed according to the seasons, 3 but they would not 
have understood what was meant had one spoken to them of the Nile. The name 
Egypt also is part of the Hellenic tradition ; 4 perhaps it was taken from the 
temple-name of Memphis, Hâikûphtah, 5 which barbarian coast tribes of the 
Mediterranean must long have had ringing in their ears as that of the most 
important and wealthiest town to be found upon the shores of their sea. 
The Egyptians called themselves Romitû, Eotû, 6 and their country Qimit, 
the black land. 7 Whence came they? How far off in time are we to carry 

1 The least unlikely etymology is still that which derives Neilos from the Hebrew nahr, a river, 
or nahhal, a torrent (Lepsius, Einleitung, zur Chronologie der JEgypter, p. 275). It is also derived 
from Ne-ialû, tho branches of the Nile in the Delta (Groff, in the Bulletin de l'Institut Egyptien, 
3rd series, vol. iii. pp. 165-175). 

2 See above, p. 16, for what is said on this subject; cf. also p. 6, note 4. 

1 They may bo found partially enumerated in the Hood Papyrus of the British Museum (Brugsch, 
Dictionnaire géographique, pp. 1282, 1283; Maspero, Études égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 5, 6). 

4 It is first met with in the Homeric poems, where it is applied to the river (Odyssey, is. 355, 
xiv. 258) as well as to the country (Odyssey, iv. 351, xiv. 257). 

5 Hâikûphtah, Hâlûphtah, means the mansion of the doubles of the god Phtah. This is tho 
etymology proposed by Brugsch (Geogr. Ins., vol. i. p. 83). Even in the last century a similar 
derivation had occurred to Forster, viz. Ai-go-phtash, which he translated the earthly house of Phtah 
(Jablonski, Opuseula, Te Water edition, vol. i. pp. 426, 427). Confirmation of this conjecture might 
be found in the name Hephœstia, which was sometimes applied to the country. As a matter of fact, 
Hephajstos was the god with whom the Greeks identified Phtah. Another hypothesis, first proposed 
by Keinisch (Ueber die Namen JEgyptens bei den Semiten and Griechen, in the Silzungsberichte of the 
Academy of Sciences in Vienna, 1889), and adopted with slight modifications by Ebers (JEgypten und 
die Bûcher Moses, p. 132, et seq.), derives iEgyptos from Aï-Eaphtor, the island of Kaphtor. In that 
case, the Caphtor of the Bible would be the Delta, not Crete. Gutschmid (Eleine ischriften, vol. i. 
pp. 382, 383), followed by Wiedemann (Herodots Zvceites Buch, p. 47, note 1), considers it an archaic, 
but purely Greek form, taken from yv\\i, a vulture, like al-yvmôs. "The impetuous river, with its 
many arms, suggested to the Hellenes the idea of a bird of prey of powerful bearing. Tho name 
eagle, aeros, which is occasionally, though rarely, applied to the river, is incontestably in favour of 
this etymology." 

Romitû is the more ancient form, and is currently used in the Pyramid texts. By elision of 
the final t, it has become the Coptic rûmi, rùmé, the Pi-rômi-s of Hecat/eus of Miletus and of 
Herodotus (ii. 143). Bômi is one of the words which have inspired Prof. Lieblein with the idea 
of seeking traces of the Ancient Egyptian in the Gypsy tongue (Om Ziguenerne, in his JEgyptologishe 
Studier, pp. 26, 27 ; cf. Vidensk. Selsk. Forhandlinger, Christiania, 1870). Bôtû, lotû, is the same 
word as romitû, without the intermediate nasal. Its ethnic significance was recognized by Cham- 
poluion {Lettres écrites d'Égypte, 2nd edit., p. 259). E. de Kougé connected it wilh the name 
Ludim, which is given in Genesis (x. 13) to the eldest son of Mizraîm (Recherches sur les monuments 
qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties de Manéthon, p. 6). Kochemonteix (Sur les noms des 
fils de Mizraîm, in the Journal asiatique, 1888, 8th series, vol. xii. pp. 199-201 ; cf. Œuvres diverses, 
pp. 86-89) takes it for the name of the fellahin, and the poorer classes, in distinction to the term 
Auamim, which would stand for the wealthy classes, the zaûat of Mohammedan times. 

7 A digest of ancient discussions on this name is to be found in Champollion (L'Êgypte sous les 
Pharaons, vol. i. pp. 73, 74), and the like service has been done for modern research on the subject 
by Brugsch (Geogr. Ins., vol. i. pp. 73, 74). The name was known to the Greeks under the form 
Khêmia, Ehîmia (De Iside et Osiride, § 33, Parthey edition, p. 58. 7) ; but it was rarely used, at 
least for literary purposes. 



back the date of their arrival ? The oldest monuments hitherto known 
scarcely transport us further than six thousand years, yet they are of an art 
so fine, so well determined in its main outlines, and reveal so ingeniously 
combined a system of administration, government, and religion, that we infer 
a long past of accumulated centuries behind them. It must always be difficult 
to estimate exactly the length of time needful for a race as gifted as were the 
Ancient Egyptians to rise from barbarism into a high degree of culture. 
Nevertheless, I do not think that we shall be misled in granting them forty or 
fifty centuries wherein to bring so complicated an achievement to a successful 
issue, and in placing their first appearance at eight or ten thousand years 
before our era. 1 Their earliest horizon was a very limited one. Their gaze 
might wander westward over the ravine-furrowed plains of the Libyan desert 
without reaching that fabled land of Manû where the sun set every evening ; 2 
but looking eastward from the valley, they could see the peak of Bâkhû, which 
marked the limit of regions accessible to man. 3 

Beyond these regions lay the beginnings of To-nùtri, the land of the gods, 
and the breezes passing over it were laden with its perfumes, and sometimes 
wafted them to mortals lost in the desert. 4 Northward, the world came to an 
end towards the lagoons of the Delta, whose inaccessible islands were believed 
to be the sojourning-place of souls after death. 5 As regards the south, precise 
knowledge of it scarcely went beyond the defiles of Gebel Silsileh, where the 
last remains of the granite threshold had perhaps not altogether disappeared. 
The district beyond Gebel Silsileh, the province of Konûsit, was still a foreign 
and almost mythic country, directly connected with heaven by means of the 
cataract. 6 Long after the Egyptians had broken through this restricted circle, 

1 This is the date admitted by Chabas, of all savants the least disposed to attribute exaggerated 
antiquity to races of men (Études sur l'antiquité historique, 2nd edit., pp. 6-10). 

2 See what is said above on the mountain of Manû, p. 18. 

J Brugsch (Die allagyptische Volherta/el, in the Verhandlungen des 5ten Orienialisten-Congresses, 
vol. ii. pp. 62-64) identifies the mountain of Bâkhû with the Emerald Mountain of classic geography, 
known to-day as Gebel Zabârah. The name of Bâkhû does not seem to have been restricted to an 
insignificant chain of hills. The texts prove that it was applied to several mountains situate north 
of Gebel Zabârah, especially to Gebel ed-Dûkhan. Gebel Ghârib, one of the peaks of this region, 
attains a height of 6180 feet, and is visible from afar (Schweinfurth, La terra incognita dell' Egitto 
propiamente detto, in V Etploralore, 1878). 

4 Brugsch, Dictionnaire géographique, pp. 382-385, 396-398, 1231, 1234-1236. The perfumes and 
the odoriferous woods of the Divine Land were celebrated in Egypt. A traveller or hunter, crossing 
the desert, "could not but be vividly impressed by suddenly becoming aware, in the very midst 
of the desert, of the penetrating scent of the rolûl (Pulicharia undulata, Schweinf.), which once 
followed us throughout a day and two nights, in some places without our being able to distinguish 
whence it came ; as, for instance, when we were crossing tracts of country without any traces of 
vegetation whatever" (Golenischeff, Une excursion à Bérénice, in the Eecueil, vol. xiii. pp. 93, 94). 

5 Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d' Archéologie égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 12-14 (cf. the Bévue de 
l'Histoire des Béligions, vol. xvii. pp. 259-261). Prof. Latjth (Aus JËgyptens Vorzeit, p. 53, et seq.) 
was the first to show that the sojourning-place of the Egyptian dead, Sokhit Larû, was localized in 
one of the nomes of the Delta. 

6 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 17, 18 (cf. the Revue de 
l'Histoire des Béligions, vol. xviii. pp. 269, 270). 



the names of those places which had as it were marked out their frontiers, 
continued to be associated in their minds with the idea of the four cardinal 
points. Bâkhû and Manu were still the most frequent expressions for the 
extreme East and West. 1 Nekhabit and Bûto, the most populous towns in 
the neighbourhoods of Gebel Silsileh and the ponds of the Delta, were set 
over against each other to designate South and North. 2 It was within these 
narrow limits that Egyptian civilization struck root and ripened, as in a 
closed vessel. What were the people by whom it was developed, the country 
whence they came, the races to which they belonged, is to-day unknown. 
The majority would place their cradle-land in Asia, 3 but cannot agree in 
determining the route which was followed in the emigration to Africa. Some 
think that the people took the shortest road across the Isthmus of Suez, 4 
others give them longer peregrinations and a more complicated itinerary. 
They would have them cross the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb, and then the 
Abyssinian mountains, and, spreading northward and keeping along the 
Nile, finally settle in the Egypt of to-day. 5 A more minute examination 
compels us to recognize that the hypothesis of an Asiatic origin, however 
attractive it may seem, is somewhat difficult to maintain. The bulk of the 
Egyptian population presents the characteristics of those white races which 
have been found established from all antiquity on the Mediterranean slope 
of the Libyan continent ; this population is of African origin, and came to 
Egypt from the AVest or South-West. 6 In the valley, perhaps, it may have 

1 Brugsch, Ueber den Ost-und Westpitnlt des Sonnenlaufes nach den altdgyptischen Vorslellungen, 
in the Zeitschrift, 1864, pp. 73-70. 

* Brugsch, Dictionnaire géographique, pp. 213-215, 351-353. 

J The greater number of contemporary Egyptologists, Brugsch, Ebers, Lauth, Lieblein, liave 
rallied to this opinion, in the train of E. de Bougé {Recherches sur les monuments, pp. 1-11); but the 
most extreme position has been taken up by Hommel, the Assyriologist, who is inclined to derive 
Egyptian civilization entirely from the Babylonian. After having summarily announced this thesis 
in his Geschichte Babyloniens und Assyriens, p. 12, et seq., he has set it forth at length in a special 
treatise, Der Babylunische Ursprung der dgyptischen Kullur, 1892, wherein he endeavours to prove 
that the Heliopolitan myths, and hence the whole Egyptian religion, are derived from the cults of 
Eridû, and would make the name of the Egyptian city Onû, or Anu, identical with that of Nun-hi, 
Nim, which is borne by the Chaldean. 

4 E. DE Bougé, Recherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties, 
p. 4 ; Bkugsch, Geschichte JEgyptens, p. 8 ; Wiedesiann, JEgyptische Geschichte, p. 21, et seq. 

s Ebers, JEgypten und die Bûcher Moses, p. 41, L' Egypte (French translation), vol. ii. p. 230 ; 
Dumichen, Geschichte des Alten JEgyptens, pp. 118, 119. Brugsch has adopted this opinion in his 
JEgyptische Beitrdge zur Volherhunde der dltesten Welt {Deutsche Revue, 1881, p. 48). 

• This is the theory preferred by naturalists and ethnologists (R. Hartmann, Die Nigritier, vol. 
i. p. 180, et seq. ; Morton, who was at first hostile to this view, accepted it in the Transactions 
of the American Ethnological Society, vol. iii. p. 215; cf. Nott-Gliddon, Types of Mankind, p. 318; 
Hamy, Aperçu sur les races humaines de la basse valle'e du Nil, in the Bulletin de la Société' d'anthro- 
pologie, 1886, pp. 718-743). A Viennese Egyptologist, Herr Reinisch, even holds that not only are 
the Egyptians of African origin, but that "the human races of the ancient world, of Europe, Asia, 
aud Africa, are descended from a single family, whose original scat was on the shorts of the great 
lakes of equatorial 'Africa " (Der einheitliche Ursprung der Sprachen der Alten Welt, nachgewiesen- 



met with a black race which it drove back or destroyed ; 1 and there, perhaps, 
too, it afterwards received an accretion of Asiatic elements, introduced by way 
of the isthmus and the marshes of the Delta. But whatever may be the 
origin of the ancestors of the Egyptians, they were scarcely settled upon the 
banks of the Nile before the country conquered, and assimilated them to itself, 
as it has never ceased to do in the case of strangers who have occupied it. At 
the time when their history begins for us, all the inhabitants had long formed 
but one people, with but one language. 

This language seems to be connected with the Semitic tongues by many 
of its roots. 2 It forms its personal pronouns, whether isolated or suffixed, 
in a similar way. 8 One of the tenses of the conjugation, and that the 
simplest and most archaic, is formed with identical affixes. Without insisting 
upon resemblances which are open to doubt, it may be almost affirmed 
that most of the grammatical processes used in Semitic languages are to 
be found in a rudimentary condition in Egyptian. One would say that the 
language of the people of Egypt and the languages of the Semitic races, 
having once belonged to the same group, had separated very early, at a time 
when the vocabulary and the grammatical system of the group had not as yet 
taken definite shape. Subject to different influences, the two families would 
treat in diverse fashion the elements common to both. The Semitic dialects 
continued to develop for centuries, while the Egyptian language, although 
earlier cultivated, stopped short in its growth. " If it is obvious that there 
was an original connexion between the language of Egypt and that of Asia, 

durch Vergleichung der Afrihanischen, Erytrxischen mid Indogermanischen Sprachen, mit Zugrundleg- 
ung des Teda, Vienna, 1873, p. x.). 

1 Lepsius, Ueber die Annahme eines sogenannten prdhistorischen Steinalters in JEgypten, in the 
Zeitschrift, 1870, p. 92, et seq. ; Lefébure, Le Cham et l'Adam égyptiens, in the Transactions of tlie 
Society of Biblical Archxology, vol. x. pp. 172, 173. 

2 This is the opinion which has generally obtained among Egyptologists since Benfet's researches, 
Ueber das Verhdltniss der JEgyptischen Sprache zum Semitischen Sprachstamm, 1844; cf. Schwabtze, 
Das Alte Mgypten, vol. i. part ii. p. 2003, et seq. ; E. de Rougé, Eecherches sur les monuments, pp. 2-4 ; 
Lepsius, Ueber die Annahme, in the Zeitschrift, 1870, pp. 91, 92; Brugsch, Geschichte JEgyptens, pp. 
8, 9 ; Ed. Meyer, Geschichte des alten Mgyptens, p. 23. Erman (Mgypten, pp. 54, 55) is tempted to 
explain the relationships found between Egyptian and the idioms of Northern Africa as the effects 
of a series of emigrations taking place at different times, probably far enough apart, the first wave 
having passed over Egypt at a very remote period, another over Syria and Arabia, and, finally, a third 
over Eastern Africa. Prof. Erman has also published a very substantial memoir, in which he sets forth 
with considerable caution those points of contact to be observed between the Semitic and Egyptian 
languages (A. Erman, Das Verhdltniss der JEgyptischen zu den Semitischen Sprachen, in the Zeitschrift 
der Morgenldndischen Gesellschaft, vol. xlvi. pp. 85-129). The many Semitic words introduced into 
classic Egyptian from the time of the XVIII"' dynasty must be carefully excluded from the terms 
of the comparison. An extensive list of these will be found in Bondi, Dem Hebrdisch-Phonizischen 
Sprachzweige angeliorige Lelmvcorter in Meroglyphischen und hieratischen Texten, Leipzig, 1886. 

3 Maspero, Des Pronoms personnels en égyptien et dans les langues sémitiques, in the Mémoire de 
la Société de linguistique, vol. ii. p. 1, et seq. A very forcible exposition of different conclusions may 
be found in a memoir by Lepage-Renouf (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 1888-89, 
pp. 247-264). 



this connexion is nevertheless sufficiently remote to leave to the Egyptian 
race a distinct physiognomy." 1 We recognize it in sculptured and painted 
portraits, as well as in thousands of mummied bodies out of subterranean 
tombs. 2 The highest type of Egyptian was tall 
slender, with a proud and imperious air in the carria 
his head and in his whole bearing. He had wide and 
full shoulders, well-marked and vigorous pectoral 
muscles, muscular arms, a long, fine hand, slightly 
developed hips, and sinewy legs. The detail of the 
knee-joint and the muscles of the calf are strongly 
marked beneath the skin ; the long, thin, and low- 
arched feet are flattened out at the extremities 
owing to the custom of going barefoot. The head is 
rather short, the face oval, the forehead somewhat 
retreating. The eyes are wide and fully opened, 
the cheek-bones not too marked, the nose fairly 
prominent, and either straight or aquiline. The 
mouth is long, the lips full, and lightly ridged along 
their outline ; the teeth small, even, well-set, and 
remarkably sound ; the ears are set high on the 
head. At birth the skin is white, but darkens in pro- 
portion to its exposure to the sun. 3 Men are gene- 
rally painted red in the pictures, though, as a matter 
of fact, there must already have been all the 
shades which we see among the present population, 
from a most delicate rose - tinted complexion to 


that of a smoke-coloured bronze. Women, who 

were less exposed to the sun, are generally painted yellow, the tint paler 
in proportion as they rise in the social scale. The hair was inclined to be 
wavy, and even to curl into little ringlets, but without ever turning into 
the wool of the negro. The beard was scanty, thick only upon the chin. 
Such was the highest type ; the commoner was squat, dumpy, and heavy. 
Chest and shoulders seem to be enlarged at the expense of the pelvis and 

1 E. de Bougé, Recherches sur les monuments qu on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties, p. 3. 

2 All the features of the two portraits given below are taken either from the statues, the bas- 
reliefs, or the many mummies which it fell to my lot both to see and to study during the time I was in 
Egypt. They correspond pretty closely with those drawn by Hamy, Aperçu sur les races humaines 
de la basse vallée du Nil, p. 4, et seq. (cf. Bulletin de la Société' dAnthropologie, 1886, p. 721, et seq.). 

3 With regard to this question, see, more recently, B. Virchow, Anthropologie Mgyptens, in the 
Correspondenz-Blatt der d. Anthr. Ges., 1888, No. 10, p. 107, et seq. 

4 Statue of Rânofir in the Gizeh Museum (V th dynasty), after a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bcy. 




the hips, to such an extent as to make the want of proportion between 
the upper and lower parts of the body startling and ungraceful. The skull 
is long, somewhat retreating, and slightly flattened on the top ; the features 
yfirl ai 'e coarse, and as though carved in flesh by great strokes 
of the blocking - out chisel. 
Small frsenated eyes, a short 
nose, flanked by widely 
distended nostrils, round 
cheeks, a square chin, thick, 
but not curling lips — this 
unattractive and ludicrous 
physiognomy, sometimes 
animated by an expres- 
sion of cunning which 
recalls the shrewd face of 
an old French peasant, 

is often lighted up by gleams of gentleness and of 
melancholy good-nature. 
The external character- 
istics of these two princi- 
pal types in the ancient 
monuments, in all 
varieties of modifi- 
cations, may still 
be seen among the 
living. 2 The pro- 
file copied from a 
Theban mummy taken at hazard from a necropolis 
of the XVIII th dynasty, and compared with the 
likeness of a modern Luxor peasant, would almost 

pass for a family portrait. 3 Wandering Bisharîn have inherited the type of 
face of a great noble, the contemporary of Kheops ; and any peasant woman 

1 Statue of Ûsiri (VI th dynasty) in the Gizeh Museum. From a photograph by Emil Brugsch- 

2 According to Virchow (Anthropologie JEgyptens, i. 1), this impression is not borne out by facts. 
Sundry Orientalists, especially Birch (Egypt from the Earliest Times to b.c. 309-310) and Sayce 
(The Ancient Empires of the East, pp. 309, 310), have noted considerable differences of type among 
the personages represented upon monuments of different periods. Virchow (Die Humien der Kônige 
im Museum von Bulaq, p. 17, cf. Sitzungsberichte of the Academy of Berlin, 1888, pp. 782. 783, and 
Anthropologie JEgyptens, i. 1) has endeavoured to show that the difference was even greater than had 
been stated, because the ancient Egyptian was brachy cephalic, while the modern is dolichocephalic. 

3 Description de l'Égypte, Ant, vol. ii. pL xlix. fig. 1, and Jomard's text (vol. ii. pp. 78, 79) : " I 
once tried to sketch a Turkish coiffure, on a head copied from a mummy, and asking some one to 




of the Delta may bear upon her shoulders the head of a twelfth-dynasty 
king. A citizen of Cairo, gazing with wonder at the statues of Ehafra or 
of Seti I. in the Ghizeh Museum, is himself, feature for feature, the very inia°- e 
of those ancient Pharaohs, though removed from them by fifty centuries. 

Nothing, or all but nothing, has come down to us from the primitive races 


of Egypt ; we cannot with any certainty attribute to them the majority of the 
flint weapons and implements which have been discovered in various places. 2 
The Egyptians continued to use stone after other nations had begun to use 
metal. They made stone arrowheads, hammers, knives, and scrapers, not only 

whom all the great folks of Cairo wore well known which of the sheikhs my drawing was like, he 
unhesitatingly named a sheikh of the Divan, whom, indeed, it did fairly resemble." Hamy pointed 
out a similar resemblanco between the head to which Jomard refers and the portrait of a fellah 
from Upper Egypt, painted by Lefe'bure for the collections of the Museum of Natural History 
(Aperçu des races humaines de la basse vallée du Nil, pp. 10-12 ; cf. Bulletin de la Société d'anthro- 
pologie, 1886, pp. 727-729) : these are the two types reproduced by Faucher-Gudiu on p. 48. 

1 The face of the woman here given was taken separately, and was subsequently attached to the 
figure of an Egyptian woman whom Naville had photographed sitting beside a colossal head. The 
nose of the statue has been restored. 

2 This question, brought forward for the first time by Hamy and François Lenormant (Découvertes 
de restes de l'âge de pierre en Egypte, in the Comptes rendus de V Académie des Sciences, 22 nov. 1869), 
gave rise to a long controversy, in which many European savants took part. The whole account of 
it is given nearly in full by Salomon Eeinach, Description raisonnée du musée de Saint-Germain, 
vol. i. pp. 87, 88. The examination of the sites led me to believe, with Mariette, that the manu- 
factories hitherto poiuted out were certainly not anterior to historic times ; see, however, fur some 
new sites what is said by Prof. Petrie in his Eistorij of Egypt, vol. i. pp. 5-7. 




in the time of the Pharaohs, but under the Komans, and during the whole 
period of the Middle Ages, and the manufacture of them has not yet entirely 
died out. 1 These objects, and the workshops where they were made, may, there- 
fore, be less ancient than the greater part of the inscribed monuments. But 
if we have no examples of any work belonging to the first ages, we meet in 
historic times with certain customs which are out of harmony with the general 
civilization of the period. A comparison of these customs with analogous 
practices of barbarous nations throws light upon the former, completes their 
meaning, and shows us at the same time the successive stages through which 
the Egyptian people had to pass before reaching their highest civilization. We 
know, for example, that even as late as the Caesars, girls belonging to noble 
families at Thebes were consecrated to the service of Amon, and were thus 
licensed to a life of immorality, which, however, did not prevent them from 
making rich marriages when age obliged them to retire from office. 2 Theban 
women were not the only people in the world to whom such licence was granted 
or imposed upon them by law ; wherever in a civilized country we see a similar 
practice, we may recognize in it an ancient custom which in the course of cen- 
turies has degenerated into a religious observance. 3 The institution of the women 
of Amon is a legacy from a time when the practice of polyandry obtained, and 
marriage did not yet exist. 4 Age and maternity relieved them from this obli- 
gation, and preserved them from those incestuous connections of which we find 
examples in other races. 5 A union of father and daughter, however, was perhaps 
not wholly forbidden, 6 and that of brother- and sister seems to have been 

1 An entire collection of flint tools — axes, adze3, knives, and sickles — mostly with wooden 
handles, were found hy Prof. Petrie in the ruins of Kahun, at the entrance to the Fayûm (lllahun, 
Kaliun and Gurob, pp. 12, 51-55): these go back to the time of the twelfth dynasty, more than 
three thousand years before our era. Mariette had previously pointed out to the learned world 
(Bulletin de l'Institut égyptien, 1869-1871, 1st series, vol. xi. p. 58 ; cf. De l'âge de la pierre en Egypte, 
in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. vii. p. 129) the fact that a Coptic Reis, Salîb of Abydos, in charge of 
the excavations, shaved his head with a flint knife, according to the custom of his youth (1820-35). 
I knew the man, who died at over eighty years of age, in 1887 ; he was still faithful to his flint 
implement, while his sons and the whole population of El Kharbeh were using nothing but steel 
razors. As his scalp was scraped nearly raw by the operation, he used to cover his head with fresh 
leaves to cool the inflamed skin. 

" Strabo, book xvii. § 46, p. 817 ; Diodorus (i. 47) speaks only of the tombs of these Pallacides 
of Amon ; his authority, Hecatseus of Abdera, does not appear to have known their manner 
of life. 

3 Lippert, Eulturgeschichte der Menschheit in ihrem organischen Aufbau, vol. ii. p. 15. 

4 For the complete development and proofs of the theory on which this view of the fact rests, see 
Lippert, Kulturgeschichte der Menschheit, vol. ii. p. 6, et seq. 

5 As, for instance, among the Medes, the class of the Magi, according to the testimony of Xanthos 
of Lydia (fragm. 28 in Muller-Didot, Frag. hist, grxc, vol. i. p. 43) and of Ctesias (fragm. 30, edit. 

MuLLER-DlDOT, p. 60). 

6 E. de KorjGÉ held that Rameses II. married at least two of his daughters, Bint Anati and 
Honittui; Wiedemann (Mgyptisclie GescMchte, p. 622) admits that Psammetichus I. had in the same 
way taken to wife Nitocris, who had been born to him by the Theban princess Shapenuapit. The 
Achœmenidan kings did the same : Artaxerxes married two of his own daughters (Plutarch, 

Artaxerxes, § 27). 



regarded as perfectly right and natural ; 1 the words brother and sister possessing 
in Egyptian love-songs the same significance as lover and mistress with us. 2 
Paternity was necessarily doubtful in a community of this kiud, and hence the 
tie between fathers and children was slight ; there being no family, in the sense 
in which we understand the word, except as it centred around the mother. 
Maternal descent was, therefore, the only one openly acknowledged, and the 
affiliation of the child was indicated by the name of the mother alone. 3 
"When the woman ceased to belong to all, and confined herself to one husband, 
the man reserved to himself the privilege of taking as many wives as he 
wished, or as he was able to keep, beginning with his own sisters. All 
wives did not enjoy identical rights : those born of the same parents as the 
man, or those of equal rank with himself, preserved their independence. If 
the law pronounced him the master, nibû, to whom they owed obedience and 
fidelity, 4 they were mistresses of the house, nîbît pirû, as well as wives, 
Mmitû, and the two words of the title express their condition. 5 Each of 
them occupied, in fact, her own house, pirû, which she had from her parents 
or her husband, and of which she was absolute mistress, nîbît. She lived 
in it and performed in it without constraint all a woman's duties ; feeding 
the fire, grinding the corn, occupying herself in cooking and weaving, making 
clothing and perfumes, nursing and teaching her children. 6 When her hus- 
band visited her, he was a guest whom she received on an equal footing. 
It appears that at the outset these various wives were placed under the 
authority of an older woman, whom they looked on as their mother, and 
who defended their rights and interests against the master ; but this custom 

1 This custom had been noticed in early times, among others by Diodorus, i. 27, who justifies it 
■by citing the marriage of Osiris with his sister Isis : the testimony of historians of the classical period 
is daily confirmed by the ancient monuments. 

2 Maspero, Études égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 221, 228, 232, 233, 237, 239, 210, etc. 

3 The same custom existed among the Lycians (Herodotus, i. 172 ; Nicolatjs of Damascus, 
fragm. 129, in Muller-Didot, Frag. hist, nr., vol. iii. p. 401, etc.) and among many semi-civilized 
peoples of ancient and modern times (J. Lubbock, The Origins of Civilization, p. 139, etc.). The first 
writer to notice its existence in Egypt, to my knowledge, was Schow, Charta Papyracea grxce 
scripta Musei Borgiani Velitris, pp. xxxiv., xxxv. 

4 On the most ancient monuments which we possess, the wife says of herself that she is " the 
one devoted to her master — icho does every day what her master loves, and whom, for that reason, her 
master loves" (Lepsius, Denhm., ii. 10 6); in the same way a subject who is the favourite of a king 
says that " he loves his master, and that his master loves him " (Lepsius, Benkm., ii. 20). 

5 The title nibit. pirû is ordinarily interpreted as if the woman who bore it were mistress of the 
house of her husband. Prof. Petrie (A Season in Egypt, pp. 8, 9) considers that this is not an exact 
translation, and has suggested that the women called nibit pirû are widows. This explanation 
cannot be applied to passages where the woman, whether married or otherwise, says to her lover, 
"My good friend, my desire is to share thy goods as thy house-mistress" (Maspero, Études 
■égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 247) ; evidently she docs not ask to become the widow of her beloved. The 
interpretation proposed here was suggested to me by a species of marriage still in vogue among 
several tribes of Africa and America (Lippert, Kulturgeschichte der Menschheit, vol. ii. p. 27, et seq.) 

u Compare the touching picture which the author of the Papyrus moral de Boulaq gives of the 
good mother, at the end of the Theban period (Chabas, V Egy ptologie, vol. ii. pp. 42-51). 



gradually disappeared, and in historic times we read of it as existing only 
in the families of the gods. The female singers consecrated to Amon and 
other deities, owed obedience to several superiors, of whom the principal 
(generally the widow of a king or high priest) was called chief -superior of 
the ladies of the harem of Amon} Besides these wives, there were concu- 
bines, slaves purchased or born in the house, prisoners of war, Egyptians 
of inferior class, who were the chattels of the man and of whom he could 
dispose as he wished. 2 All the children of one father were legitimate, 
whether their mother were a wife or merely a concubine, but they did not 
all enjoy the same advantages ; those among them who were born of a 
brother or sister united in legitimate marriage, took precedence of those 
whose mother was a wife of inferior rank or a slave. 8 In the family thus 
constituted, the woman, to all appearances, played the principal part. Children 
recognized the parental relationship in the mother alone. The husband 
appears to have entered the house of his wives, rather than the wives to have 
entered his, and this appearance of inferiority was so marked that the Greeks 
were deceived by it. They affirmed that the woman was supreme in Egypt ; 
the man at the time of marriage promised obedience to her, and entered 
into a contract not to raise any objection to her commands. 4 

We must, therefore, pronounce the first Egyptians to have been semi- 
savages, like those still living in Africa and America, having an analogous 
organization, and similar weapons and tools. 5 A few lived in the desert, 
in the oasis of Libya to the east, or in the .deep valleys of the Eed Land — 
Doshirit, To Doshiru — between the Nile and the sea; the poverty of the 

1 Most of the princesses of the family of the high priest of the Theban Amon had this title 
(Maspero, Les Momies royales de Deîr-el-Bahari, in the Mémoires de la Mission française du Caire, 
vol. i. pp. 575-580). In that species of modem African marriage with which I have compared the 
earliest Egyptian marriage, the wives of one man are together subject to the authority of an old woman, 
to whom they give the title of mother; if the comparison is exact, the harem of the god would form 
a community of this kind, in which the elder would be the superiors of the younger women. Here 
again the divine family would preserve an institution which had long ceased to exist among mortals. 

2 One of the concubines of Khnumliotpû at Beni-Hasan, after having presented her master with 
a son, was given by him in marriage to an inferior officer, by whom she had several other children 
(Champollion, Monuments de l'Égypte, vol. ii. pp. 390, 392, 415 ; Lepsius, Denlcm., vol. ii. 128, 130, 132).. 

3 This explains the history of the children of Thothnies I., and of the other princes of the family 
of Aahmes, as we shall have occasion to see further on. 

* Diodoetjs SicrjLTJS, i. 80. Here, as in all he says of Egypt, Diodorus has drawn largely from 
the historical and philosophic romance of Hecatajus of Abdera. 

5 Up till now but few efforts have been made to throw light on these early times in Egypt; 
Erman (Mgypten, pp. 59, 60) and Ed. Meyer (Gesclriclde JEgyptens, pp. 21-30) have scarcely devoted 
more than a few pages to the subject : a new theory has been started by Prof. Petrie (A History of 
Egypt, vol. i. pp. 12-15) which seems as yet to have found no acceptance amon got Egyptologists. The 
examination of the hieroglyphic signs has yielded valuable information ; they have often preserved 
for us a representation of objects, and consequently a record of customs flourishing at the time when 
they were originally drawn (Maspero, Notes au jour le jour, § 5, in the Proceedings of the Biblical 
Archaeological Society, 1890-91, vol. xiii. pp. 310, 311 ; Petrie, Epigraphy in Egyptian Besearch, in 
the Asiatic and Quarterly Bevieiv, 1891, pp. 315-320; Medum, pp. 29-34). 



country fostering their native savagery. 1 Others, settled on the Black 
Land, gradually became civilized. Their houses were like those of the fellahs 
of to-day, low huts of wattle 
daubed with puddled clay, 
or of bricks dried in the 
sun. They contained one 
room, either oblong or 
square, the door being the 
only aperture. 3 Only those 
of the richer class were 
large enough to make it 
needful to support the roof 
by means of one or- more 
trunks of trees, which did 
duty for columns. 4 Earthen 
pots, turned by hand, 5 mats of reeds or plaited straw, two flat stones for 
grinding corn, a few pieces of wooden furniture, stools, and head-rests for 
use at night, 7 comprised all the contents. The men went about nearly naked, 
except the nobles, who wore a panther's skin, sometimes thrown over the 
shoulders, 8 sometimes drawn round the waist, and covering the lower part of 

1 The Egyptians, even in late times, had not forgotten the ties of common origin which linked 
them to these still barbarous tribes. 

- XIX th dynasty; drawn by Faucber-Gudin, after Rosellini, Monumenti Storici, pi. lxxxv. 
These are negroes of the Upper Nile, prisoners of Ramesis II., at Abu-simbel. 

* This is shown by the signs £3 [ ] and their variants, which from the earliest times have 
served to represent the idea of house or habitation in general in the current writing. 

* The signs ^J^, and their variants represent a hut propped up by a forked tree- 

5 More or less authentic fragments of these have been found in various parts of Egypt (Arcelin, 
Industrie primitive en Egypte et en Syrie, p. 22). 

6 Similar to those ill the Gizeh Museum, before which the women kneel grinding corn 
(Mariette, Album photographique, pl. xx. ; Maspero, Guide du visiteur, p. 220, Nos. 1012, 

7 Hamy, Note sur les chevets des anciens Egyptiens et sur les affinités ethniques que manifeste leur 
emploi, in the Études dédiées a Leemans, pp. 32-34. The part played by the head-rest ^ as a 
determinative to verbs expressing the idea of "bearing" or "carrying" in the texts of the ancient 
empire, shows conclusively the great antiquity of its use (Maspero, Notes au jour le jour, § 28, in the 
Proceedings of the Biblical Archxological Society, 1891-92, vol. xiv. pp. 321, 322). 

8 It is the panther's skin which is sccd, among others, on the shoulders of the negro prisoners 
of the XVIII th dynasty (Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. i. p. 259, No. 13 c, d); 
it was obligatory for certain orders of priests, or for dignitaries performing priestly functions of a 
prescribed nature (Statues A 60, 6G, 72, 76, in the Louvre, E. de Rougé, Notice sommaire des 
Monuments de la Galène Égyptienne, 1872, pp. 44, 36, 38, 39; Lepsids, Denlcm., ii. 18, 19, 21, 22, 30, 
31 b, 32, etc. ; cf. Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. i. pp. 181, 182 ; Erman, JEgypten, 
p. 286). The sacerdotal costume is here, as in many other cases, a survival of the ancient attire of 
the head of the family, or of a noble in full dress. Those who inherited or who had obtained the 
right of wearing the panther's skin on certain occasions, bore, under the ancient empire, the title of 
Oirû basit, "chiefs of the fur" (Mariette, Les Matiabas, pp. 252, 253, 254, 275, etc.). 




the body, the animal's tail touching the heels behind, 1 as we see later in several 
representations of the negroes of the Upper Nile. I am inclined to think that 
at first they smeared their limbs with grease or oil, 2 and that they tattooed their 
faces and bodies, at least in part, but this practice was only retained by the 
lower classes. 3 On the other hand, the custom of painting the face was never 
given up. To complete their toilet, it was necessary to accentuate the arch 
of the eyebrow with a line of kohl (antimony powder). A similar black line 
surrounded and prolonged the oval of the eye to the middle of the temple, 
a layer of green coloured the under lid, 4 and ochre and carmine enlivened the 
tints of the cheeks and lips. 5 The hair, plaited, curled, oiled, and plastered 
with grease, formed an erection which was as complicated in the case of the 
man as in that of the woman. Should the hair be too short, a black or 
blue wig, dressed with much skill, 6 was substituted for it; ostrich feathers 
waved on the heads of warriors, 7 and a large lock, flattened behind the right 
ear, distinguished the military or religious chiefs from their subordinates. 8 
When the art of weaving became common, a belt and loin-cloth of white 

1 Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. i. p. 259, No. 84, 9-13, and p. 272, No. 88. 

2 The fellalnn of Upper Egypt and the Nubians still rub their bodies with the oil which they 
extract from the common castor-oil plant ; it protects them from mosquitoes, and prevents their skin 
from being cracked by the sun. Castor-oil is the oil of kiki, mentioned by Herodotus (ii. 94). It 
was called saqnunu, in Greek transcription psagdas, with the Egyptian article p; the simple form, 
without the article, 2é-y8as, is found in Hesychius. 

3 Champollion, Monuments, vol. i. pi. ccclxxxi. bis, 4 ; Koselljni, Monumenti civili, pi. xli., text, 
vol. ii. pp. 21, 22, where the women are seen tattooed on the bosom. In mo=t of the bas-reliefs alsa 
of the temples of Philœ and Kom Ombo, the goddesses and queens have their breasts scored with 
long incisions, which, starting from the circumference, unite in the centre round the nipple. The 
"cartonnages" of Akhmîm show that, in the age of Severus, tattooing was as common as it is now 
among the provincial middle classes and the fellalnn (Maspero, Eludes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie 
Egyptiennes, vol. i. p. 218; cf. Bulletin de V Institut égyptien, 2nd series, vol. vi. p. 89). 

4 The green powder (uazit) and the black pulverized vegetable charcoal, or antimony (maszimit), 
formed part of the offerings considered indispensable to the deceased ; but from the age of the 
Pyramids green paint appears to have been an affectation of archaism for the living, and we only 
meet with it on a few monuments, such as the statues of Sapi in the Louvre (E. de Rougi;, S'otice 
sommaire, p. 50 A, 36, 37, 28) and the stela of Hathor-nofer-hotpû at Gizeh (Maspero, Guide du 
visiteur, pp. 212, 213, Nos. 991 et 1000). The use of black kohl was in those times, as it is still, 
supposed to cure or even prevent ophthalmia, and the painted eye was called uzait, " the healthy," 
a term ordinarily applied to the two eyes of heaven — the sun and moon (Maspero, Notes au jour le 
jour, § 25, in the Proceedings of the Biblical Archaeological Society, 1891-92, vol. xiv. pp. 313-310). 

5 The two mummies of Houittûi and Nsit-anibashrû (Maspero, L's Momies royales de Deir- 
el-Bahari, in the Mémoires de la Mission française, vol. i. pp. 577, 579) had their hair dressed and 
their faces painted before burial ; the thick coats of colours which they still bear are composed of 
ochre, pounded biick or carmine mixed with animal fat. 

6 Wigs figure, from earliest antiquity, in tlie list of offerings. The use of them is common among 
many savage tribes in Africa at the present day. The blue wig has been found among some of the 
tribes, dependents of Abyssinia, and examples were taken by Jules Borelli to Paris, where they are 
exhibited in the Ethnographical Museum of the Trocadero. 

7 These may be observed on the head of the little sign j^S:, f^S:, fJ^£, representing foot-soldiers 

in the current script ; in later times they were confined to the mercenaries of Libyan origin. 

6 In historic times only children ordinarily wore the sidelock; with grown men it was the mark 
of princes of the royal family, or it indicated the exercise of high priestly functions (Wilkinson, 
Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. i. pp. 162, 103, 182). 



linen replaced the leathern garment. 1 Fastened round the waist, but so low 
as to leave the navel uncovered, the loin-cloth frequently reached to the knee ; 
the hinder part was frequently drawn between the 
legs and attached in front to the belt, thus 
forming a kind of drawers. 2 Tails of animals 
and wild beast's skin were henceforth only 
the insignia of authority with which 
priests and princes adorned them- 
selves on great days and at reli- 
gious ceremonies. 3 The skin was 
sometimes carelessly thrown over 
the left shoulder and swayed with 
the movement of the body ; some- 
times it was carefully adjusted 
over one shoulder and under the 
other, so as to bring the curve of 
the chest into prominence. The 
head of the animal, skilfully prepared 
and enlivened by large eyes of enamel, 
rested on the shoulder or fell just 
below the waist of the wearer; 
the paws, with the claws 
attached, hung down over 
the thighs ; the spots of 
the skin were manipulated so as to form five-pointed stars. On going 
out-of-doors, a large wrap was thrown over all ; this covering was either 



1 The monuments of the ancient empire show us the fellah of that period and the artisan at his 
work still wearing the belt (Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 4, 9, 12, 23, 24, 25, 28, 35, 40, etc.). 

* The first fashion often figures in Lepsius, Denlim., ii. pp. 4, 8, 22, 25, 32, 43, etc. ; the 
latter in Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. ii. p. 322. See the two statues, pp. 
47, 48. 

* The custom of wearing a tail made of straw, hemp fibre, or horsehair, still exists among several 
tribes of the Upper Nile (Elisée Reclus, Géographie universelle, vol. ix. pp. 140, 158, 165, 175, 
178, etc.). The tails worn on state occasions by the Egyptians were imitations of jackals' tails, and 
not, as has been stated, of those of lions. The movable part was of leather or plaited horsehair, 
attached to a rigid part of wood. The museum at Marseilles possesses one of these wooden 
appendages (Maspero, Catalogue du Mus€a Égyptien, p. 92, No. 279). They formed part of the 
costume of the deceased, and we find two species of them in his wardrobe (Visconti, Monumenti 
Egiziani della raccolta del Signor Demetrio Papandriopulo, pi. vi. ; Lepsius, JElteste Texte, pl. 7, 37 ; 
Maspero, Trois Années de fouilles, in the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire, vol. i. pp. 217, 225, 

4 Wooden statue in the Gizeh Museum (IV th dynasty), drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a 
photograph by Be'chard. See Mariette, Album du Musée de Boulaq, pl. 20, and Notice des principaux 
monuments, 4th edit., p. 235, No. 770; Maspero, Guide du Visiteur, p. 219, No. 1009. 

5 Statue of the second prophet of Anion, Aa-nea, in the Turin Museum (XVIII" 1 dynasty). 



smooth or hairy, similar to that in which the Nubians and Abyssinians of 
the present day envelop themselves. It could be draped 
in various ways ; transversely over the leff; shoulder 
like the fringed shawl of the Chaldeans, or hanging 
straight from both shoulders like a mantle. 1 In fact, 
it did duty as a cloak, sheltering the wearer from 
the sun or from the rain, from the heat or from 
the cold. They never sought to transform it 
into a luxurious garment of state, as was the 
case in later times with the Eornan toga, 
whose amplitude secured a certain dignity of 
carriage, and whose folds, carefully adjusted 
beforehand, fell around the body with 
studied grace. The Egyptian mantle, when 
not required, was thrown aside and folded 
up. The material being fine and soft, it 
occupied but a small space, and was re- 
duced to a long thin roll ; the ends being 
then fastened together, it was slung over 
the shoulder and round the body like a 
cavalry cloak. 3 Travellers, shepherds, all 
those whose occupations called them to the fields, carried it as a bundle 


1 This costume, to which Egyptologists have not given sufficient attention, is frequently repre- 
sented on the monuments. Besides the two statues reproduced above, I may cite those of TJahibri 
and of Thoth-nofir in the Louvre (E. de Rougé, Notice des Monuments de la Galérie Égyptienne, 1872, 
Nos. 55 and 91, pp. 32, 44), and the Lady Nofrit in the Gizeh Museum (Maspero, Guide du visiteur, 
No. 1050, p. 221). Thothotpu in his tomb wears this mantle (Lepsids, Denlcm., ii. 134 e). Khnum- 
hotpu and several of his workmen are represented in it at Beni-Hasan (Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 126,127), 
as also one of the princes of Elephantinê in the recently discovered tombs, besides many Egyptians 
of all classes in the tombs of Thebes (a good example is in the tomb of Harmhabi, Champollion, 
Monuments de l'Égypte, pl. clvi. 2 ; Bosellini, Monumenti Civili, pl. cxvi. 1 ; Bouriant, Le Tombeau 
d'Harmhabi, in the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire, vol. v. pl. iii.). The reason why it does not figure 
more often is, in the first place, that the Egyptian artists experienced actual difficulty in representing 
the folds of its drapery, although these were simple compared with the complicated arrangement of the 
Eoman toga ; finally, the wall-paintings mostly portray either interior scenes, or agricultural labour, or 
the work of various trades, or episodes of war, or religious ceremonies, in all of which the mantle plays no 
part. Every Egyptian peasant, however, possessed his own, and it was in constant use in his daily life. 

2 Statue of Khiti in the Gizeh Museum (XII th and XIII th dynasties), drawn by Faucher- 
Gudin ; see Mariette, Notice des principaux monuments, 4th edit., p. 188, No. 4G4, Catalogue Général 
des Monuments d'Abydos, p. 36, No. 301, and Album photographique du musée de Bouluq, pl. xxv. The 
statue was found at Abydos. 

3 Many draughtsmen, ignorant of what they had to represent, have made incorrect copies of the 
manner in which this cloak was worn; but examples of it are numerous, although until now attention 
has not been called to them. The following are a few instances taken at random of the way in which 
it was used : Pepi I., fighting against the nomads of Sinai, has the cloak, but with the two ends 
passed through the belt of his loin-cloth (Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 116 a); atZawyet el-Maiyitîn, Khunas, 
killing birds with the boomerang from his boat, wears it, but simply thrown over the left shoulder, 
with the two extremities hanging free (id., ii. 106 a). Khnumhotpu at Beni-Hasan (id., ii. 130), the 



at the ends of their sticks ; once arrived at the scene of their work, they 
deposited it in a corner with their provisions until they 
required it. 1 The women were at first contented with a loin- 
cloth like that of the men ; 2 it was enlarged and length- 
ened till it reached the ankle below and the bosom 
above, and became a tightly fitting garment, with two 
bands over the shoulders, like braces, to keep it in 
place. 3 The feet were not always covered ; on 
certain occasions, however, sandals of coarse leather, 
plaited straw, split reed, or even painted wood, 
adorned those shapely Egyptian feet, which perhaps 
we should prefer to be a little shorter. 4 Both 
men and women loved ornaments, and covered their 
necks, breasts, arms, wrists, and ankles with many 
rows of necklaces and bracelets. These were 
made of strings of pierced shells, 5 interspersed 
with seeds and little pebbles, either sparkling or of 
unusual shapes. 7 Subsequently imitations in terra- 
cotta replaced the natural shells, and precious stones 
were substituted for pebbles, as were also beads of 
enamel, either round, pear-shaped, or cylin- 
drical : the necklaces were terminated and 
a uniform distance maintained between the 
rows of beads, by several slips of wood, costume of Egyptian woman, spinning. 6 
bone, ivory, porcelain, or terra-cotta, pierced with holes, through which ran 

Klirihdbi (id., 101 b), the overseers (id., 105 b, 110 a, etc.), or the peasants (id., 96), all have it rolled 
aud slung; round them ; the Prince of el-Bcrsheh wears it like a mantle in folds over the two shoulders 
(id., 134 b, d). If it is objected that the material could not be reduced to such small dimensions as 
those represented in these drawings of what I believe to be the Egyptian cloak, I may cite our cavalry 
capes, when rolled and slung, as an instance of what good packing will do in reducing volume. 

1 Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. ii. p. 100, No. 360, and p. 394, No. 4G6, where wo 
see two cloaks rolled up and deposited in a field while the labourers are working near them. A swine- 
herd, who carries his cloak in a roll on the end of his stick, is shown on p. 64 of the present work. 

' In the harvest-scenes of the ancient empire, we see the women wearing the loin-cloth tucked up 
like drawers, to enable them to work with greater freedom (Lepsius, Denlcm., ii.). 

3 Lepsius, Denkm., ii. 5, 8 c, 11, 15, 19, 20, 21, 46, 47, 57, 58, etc. 

4 Sandals also figure in all periods among the objects contained in the wardrobe of the deceased 
(Visconti, Monumenti Êgiziani, pl. vii. ; Lepsius, JElteste Texte, pl. xi. p. xliii. ; Maspeko, Trois Années 
de fouilles, in the Mémoires de la Mission f rançaise, vol. i. pp. 218, 228, 237). 

5 The burying-places of Abydos, especially the most ancient, have furnished us with millions of 
shells, pierced and threaded as necklaces ; they all belong to the species of cowries used as money in 
Africa at the present day (Mariette, La Gàlérie de l'Egypte ancienne à l'exposition rétrospective du 
Trocadéro, p. 112; Maspero, Guide du visiteur, p. 271, No. 4130). 

• Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the spinning-women at the Paris Exhibition of 1889. It 
was restored from the paintings in the tomb of Khnumhotpû at Beni-Hasan. 

7 Necklaces of seeds have been found in the tombs of Abydos, Thebes, and Gebelên. Of these 



the threads. 1 Weapons, at least among the nobility, were an indispensable 

part of costume. Most of them were for 
hand-to-hand fighting : sticks, clubs, lances 
furnished with a sharpened bone or stone 
point, 2 axes of flint, 3 sabres and clubs of 
bone or wood variously shaped, pointed 
or rounded at the end, with blunt or sharp 
blades, — inoffensive enough to look at, 
but, wielded by a vigorous hand, 
sufficient to break an arm, crush in 
the ribs, or smash a skull with all 
desirable precision. 5 The plain or 
triple curved bow was the favourite 
weapon for attack at a distance, 6 
but in addition to this they had 
the sling, the javelin, and a missile 
almost forgotten nowadays, the boomerang ; we have no proof, however, 


Schweinfurth has identified, among others, the Cassia àbsus, L., "a weed of the Soudan whose seeds 
are sold in the drug bazaar at Cairo and Alexandria under the name of shishm, as a remedy, which 
is in great request among the natives, for ophthalmia" (Les Dernières Découvertes botaniques dans les 
anciens tombeaux de l'Egypte, in the Bidletin de l'Institut égyptien, 2nd series, vol. vi. p. 257). For 
the necklaces of pebbles, cf. Maspero, Guide du visiteur, pp. 270, 271, No. 4129. A considerable 
number of these pebbles, particularly those of strange shape, or presenting a curious combination 
of colours, must have been regarded as amulets or fetishes by their Egyptian owners ; analogous 
cases, among other peoples, have been pointed out by E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. ii. p. 
189, et seq., 205, et seq. For the imitations of cowries and shells in blue enamelled terra-cothi, cf. 
Maspero, Guide du visiteur, p. 271, No. 4130, p. 276, No. 4160 ; they are numerous at Abydos, side 
by side with the real cowries. 

1 The nature of these little perforated slips has not been understood by the majority of savants; 
they have been put aside as doubtful objects, or have been wrongly described in our museum 

2 The term mabit for the lance or javrdin is found in the most ancient formulas of the pyramids 
(Pepi I., 1. 424, in the Eecueil de Travaux, vol. vi. p. 165). The mabit, lance or javelin, was pointed 
with flint, bone, or metal, after the fashion of arrowheads (Chabas, Etudes sur l'antiquité historique, 
2nd edit., p. 382, et seq., 395). 

3 In several museums, notably at Leyden, we find Egyptian axes of stone, particularly of 
serpentine, both rough and polished (Chabas, Etudes sur l'antiquité historique, 2nd edit., pp. 
381, 382). 

4 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a portrait of Pharaoh Seti I. of the XIX th dynasty (Eosellini, 
Monumenti Storici, pi. v. 18) : the lower part of the necklace has been completed. 

5 In primitive times the bone of an animal served as a club. This is proved by the shape of the 
object held in the hand in the sign S • (Maspero, Notes au jour le jour, § 5, in the Proceedings of 
the Biblical Archxological Society, 1890-91, vol. xiii. pp. 310, 311): the hieroglyph ^V— <, which 
is the determinative in writing for all ideas of violence or brute force, comes down to us from a time 
when the principal weapon was the club, or a bone serving as a club. 

For the two principal shapes of the bow, see Lepstus, Der Bogen in der Hieroglyphik (Zeitschrifl, 
1872, pp. 79-88). From the earliest times the sign portrays the soldier equipped with the bow 
and bundle of arrows; the quiver was of Asiatic origin, and was not adopted until much later 
(Maspero, Notes au jour le jour, § 18, in the Proceedings of the Biblical Archxological Society, 
1S91-92, vol. xiv. pp. 184-187). In the contemporary texts of the first dynasties, the idea of 



that the Egyptians handled the boom 
Hans, nor that they knew how to throw 
it so as to bring it back to its point 
of departure. 2 Such was approximately 
the most ancient equipment as far as 
we can ascertain ; but at a very early 
date copper and iron were known in 
Egypt. 3 Long before historic times, 
the majority of the weapons in wood 
were replaced by those of metal, — 
daggers, sabres, hatchets, which pre- 
served, however, the shape of the old 
wooden instruments. Those wooden 
weapons which were retained, were used 
for hunting, or were only brought out on 
solemn occasions when tradition had to 
be respected. The war-baton became 
the commander's wand of authority, 
and at last degenerated into the walk- 
ing-stick of the rich or noble. The cl 

1 with the skill of the Austra- 


b at length represented merely the 

weapons is convoyed by the bow, arrow, and club or axe (E. de Rouge, Recherches sur les monuments, 
p. 101). 

1 The boomerang is still used by certain tribes of the Nile valley (Elisée Reclus, Géographie 
universelle, vol. ix. p. 352). It is portrayed in the most ancient tombs (Lepsius, Denim., ii. 12, GO, 
106, etc.), and every museum possesses examples, varying in shape (E. de Rougi':, Notice sommaire, 
Salle Civile, Armoire IL, p. 73; Maspep.o, Guida du visiteur, p. 303, No. 4723). Besides the ordinary 
boomerang, the Egyptians used one which ended in a knob (Maspero, Guide du visiteur, p. 303, 
No. 4724), and another of semicircular shape (Chabas, Études sur l'antiquité' historique, 2nd edit., 
p. 88; Maspeho, Notes au jour le jour, § 27, in the Proceedings of the Biblical Archaeological Society, 
vol. xiv., 1891-92, pp. 320, 321) : this latter, reproduced in miniature in cornelian or in red jasper, 
served as an amulet, and was placed on the mummy to furnish the deceased in the other world with 
a fighting or hunting weapon. 

2 The Australian boomerang is much larger than the Egyptian one; it is about a yard in length, 
two inches in width, and three-sixteenths of an inch in thickness. For the manner of handling it, 
and what can be done with it, see Lubbock, Prehistoric Man, pp. 402, 403. 

3 Metals were introduced into Egypt in very ancient times, since the class of blacksmiths is asso- 
ciated with the worship of Horus of Edfû, and appears in the account of the mythical wars of that 
God (MAsrEKO, Les Forgerons a" Horus, in Les Études de Mythologie, vol. ii. p. 313, et seq.). The 
earliest tools we possess, in copper or bronze, date from the IV" 1 dynasty (Gladstone, Oh Metallic 
Copper, Tin, and Antimony from Ancient Egypt, in the Proceedings of the Biblical Arch xological 
Society, 1891-92, pp. 223-226) : pieces of iron have been found from time to time in the masonry 
of the Great Pyramid (Vyse, Pyramids of Gizeh, vol. i. pp. 275, 276 ; St. John Vincent Day, 
Examination of the Fragment of Iron from the Great Pyramid of Gizeh, in the Transactions of the 
International Congress of Orientalists, 1874, pp. 396-399; Maspero, Guide du visiteur, p. 296, and 
Bulletin de la Socie'te' d'anthropologie, 1883, p. 813, et seq.). Mons. Monte'lius has again and again 
contested the authenticity of these discoveries, and he thinks that iron was not known in Egypt till 
a much later period {L'Age du bronze en Egypte, in the Anthropologie, vol. i. p. 30, et seq.). 

* Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a painting in the tomb of Khnumbotpû at Beni-Hasan. 
(Champollion, Monuments de l'Égypte, pl. ccc. ; Rosellini, Monumenti Ciuili, pi. cxvii. 3). 



rank of a chieftain, 1 while the crook and the wooden-handled mace, with 
its head of white stone, the favourite weapons of princes, continued to the 

last the most revered insignia 
of royalty. 3 

Life was passed in com- 
parative ease and pleasure. Of 
the ponds left in the open country by the river at its fall, some 
dried up more or less quickly during the winter, leaving on the 
soil an immense quantity of fish, the possession of which birds aud wild 

beasts disputed with man. 4 Other pools, how- 
ever, remained till the returning inundation, as 
so many vivaria in which the fish were preserved 
for dwellers on the banks. Fishing with the har- 
poon, with the line, with a net, with traps — all 

â methods of fishing were known and used by the 
^ Egyptians from early times. Where the ponds 
failed, the neighbouring Nile furnished them with 
inexhaustible supplies. Standing in light canoes, 
or rather supported by a plank on bundles of 
reeds bound together, 6 they ventured into mid- 
stream, in spite of the danger arising from the 
ever-present hippopotamus ; or they penetrated 
up the canals amid a thicket of aquatic plants, 
to bring down with the boomerang the birds 
which found covert there. The fowl and fish 
which could not be eaten fresh, were dried, salted, or smoked, and kept 

1 The wooden club most commonly represented L is the usual insignia of a nobleman. Several 
kinds of clubs, somewhat difficult for us moderns to distinguish, yet bearing different names, formed 
a part of funereal furniture (Lepsius, JElteste Texte, pl. x. 26-28, 38; Maspeko, Trois Années de 
fouilles, in the Mémoires de la Mission française, vol. i. pp. 24, 221, 232, etc.). 

2 The blade is of bronze, and is attached to the wooden handle by interlacing thongs of leather 
(Gizeh Museum). Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey. 

3 The crook ^ is the sceptre of a prince, a Pharaoh, or a god ; the white mace j has still the value 
apparently of a weapon in the hands of the king who brandishes it over a group of prisoners, or over 
an ox which he is sacrificing to a divinity (Lepsius, Denltm., ii. 2 a, c, 39 /, 116, etc.). Most museums 
possess specimens of the stone heads of these maces, but until lately their use was not known. 
I had several placed in the Boulak Museum {Extrait de l'inventaire, p. 10, Nos. 26,586, 26,587, in 
the Bulletin de l'Institut Égyptien, 2nd series, vol. vi.). It already possessed a model of one entirely 
of wood (Mariette, La Galérie de l'Egypte ancienne, p. 101 ; Maspebo, Guide, p. 303, No. 4722). 

* Cf. the description of these pools given by Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire in speaking of the fahalca 
(Histoire naturelle des laissons du Nil, in the Description de l'Egypte, vol. xxii. pp. 182, 183). Even 
at the present day the jackals come down from the mountains in the night, and regale themselves 
with the fish left on the ground by the gradual drying up of these ponds. 

5 Bas-relief in the temple of Luxor, from a photograph taken by Insinger in 1886. 

6 The building of this kind of canoe is represented in the tomb of Ptahhotpû (Dumichen, 
Iiesultate der arcliaologiscli-photograpliiiclien Expedition, vol. i. pi. viii.). 



for a rainy day. 1 Like the river, tho desert had its perils and its 
resources. Only too frequently, the lion, the leopard, the panther, and other 
large felidse were met with there. The nobles, like the Pharaohs of later 


times, deemed it as their privilege or duty to stalk and destroy these 
animals, pursuing them even to their dens. The common people pre- 
ferred attacking the gazelle, the oryx, the mouflon sheep, the ibex, the 


wild ox, and the ostrich, but did not disdain more humble game, such as 
the porcupine and long-eared hare : nondescript packs, in which the jackal 
and the hyena ran side by side with the wolf-dog and the lithe Abyssinian 

1 For the yearly value of the ancient fisheries, see Herodotus, ii. 149 (cf. iii. 91); Diodorus, 
i. 52. On the system of farm rents in use at the beginning of the century, cf. Michaud, Corre- 
spondance d'Orient, vol. vi. letter 15G ; and Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. ii. 
pp. 124-12G. 

2 Isolated figure from a great fishing scene in the tomb of Khnumhotpû at Beni-Hasan ; drawn 
by Faucher-Gudin afler Eosellini, Monumenti Civili, pl. xxv. 1. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from squeezes from the tomb of Ti. 


greyhound, scented and retrieved for their master the prey which he had 
pierced with his arrows. 1 At times a hunter, returning with the dead body of 


the mother, would be followed by one of her young ; or a gazelle, but slightly 
wounded, would be taken to the village and healed of its hukt. Such animals, r 


by daily contact with man, were gradually tamed, and formed about his 
dwelling a motley flock, kept partly for his pleasure and mostly for his profit, 
and becoming in case of necessity a ready stock of provisions.* Efforts 

1 On Egyptian dogs, see Rosellini, Monumenti Civili, vol. i. pp. 197-202 ; Fr. Lenormant, Les 
Animaux employe's par les anciens Égyptiens h la chasse et a la guerre, in Premières Civilisations, vol. 
i. p. 343, et seq. ; Birch, The Tablet of Antefaa IL, in the Transactions cf the Society of Biblical 
Archxology, vol. iv. pp. 172-195. 

2 Tomb of Ti. Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Dumichen, Pesultate, vol. ii. pi. x. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a painting at Beni-Hasan, Lepsius, Denhm., ii. 136. 

4 In the same way, before tbe advent of Europeans, the half-civilized tribes of North America used 
to keep about their huts whole flocks of different animals, which were tame, but not domesticated 
(Lippert, Kulturgeschichte der Menschheit, vol. i. pp. 484, 485). 




were therefore made to enlarge this flock, and the wish to procure animals 
without seriously injuring them, caused the Egyptians to use the net for birds 
and the lasso and the hola for 
quadrupeds, 1 — weapons lessbrutal 
than the arrow and the javelin. 
The bola was made by them of 
a single rounded stone, attached 
to a strap about five yards in 
length. The stone once thrown, 
the cord twisted round the legs, 
muzzle, or neck of the animal 
pursued, and by the attachment 
thus made the pursuer, using all 
his strength, was enabled to bring the beast down half strangled. The lasso 
has no stone attached to it, but a noose prepared beforehand, and the skill of 
the hunter consists in throwing it round the neck of his 
victim while running. They caught indifferently, without 
distinction of size or kind, all 
that chance brought within 
their reach. The daily chase 
kept up these half-tamed 
flocks of gazelles, wild goats, 
water-bucks, stocks, and os- 
triches, and their numbers 
are reckoned by hundreds 
on the monuments of the 
ancient empire. 4 Experience alone taught the hunter to distinguish between 

1 Hunting with (he bola is constantly represented in the paintings botli of the Memphite and 
Theban periods. Wilkinson (Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. ii. p. 87, f. 352, 353) has con- 
founded it with lasso-hunting, and his mistake has been reproduced by other Egyptologists (Eeman, 
jEyypten, p. 332). Lasso-hunting is seen in Lepsius, Denkm., ii. 9G, in Dumichen, Resultate, vol. i. 
pi. viii., and particularly in the numerous sacrificial scenes where the king is supposed to be capturing 
the bull of the north or south, previous to offering it to the god (Mariette, Abydos, vol. i. pi. 53). 
For the terms bola and lasso hunting, cf. Maspero, Notes au jour le jour, §§ 4 and 9, in the Pro- 
ceedings of the Biblical Archxological Society, 1890-91, vol. xii. pp. 310, and 427-429. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief of Ptahhotpù (Dumichen, Resultate, vol. i. 
pi. ix.). The dogs on the upper level are of hyenoid type, those on the lower are Abyssinian grey- 

J Drawn by Faucher-Gudiu, from a bas-relief of Ptahhotpù (Dumichen, Resultate, vol. i. pi. viii.) 
Above are seen two porcupines, the foremost of which, emerging from his hole, has seized a grass- 

4 As the tombs of the ancient empire show us numerous flocks of gazelles, antelopes, and storks, 
feeding under the care of shepherds, Fr. Lenormant concluded that the Egyptians of early times had 
succeeded in domesticating some species, nowadays rebels to restraint (Les Premières Civilisations, 
vol. i. pp. 323-328). It is my belief that the animals represented were tamed, but not domesticated, 

catching animals with the bola. 3 




those species from which he could draw profit, arid others whose wildness 
made them impossible to domesticate. The subjection of the most useful 
kinds had not been finished when the historic period opened. The ass, the 
sheep, and the goat were already domesticated, but the pig was still out in 
the marshes in a semi-wild state, under the care of special herdsmen, 1 and 
the religious rites preserved the remembrance of the times in which the ox 
was so little tamed, that in order to capture while grazing the animals needed 
for sacrifice or for slaughter, it was necessary to use the lasso. 2 

Europeans are astonished to meet nowadays whole peoples who make use 

of herbs and plants whose flavour and 
properties are nauseating to us : these 
are mostly so many legacies from a 
remote past; for example, castor-oil, 
with which the Berbers rub their 
limbs, and with which the fellahîn of 
Port Saïd season their bread and 
vegetables, was preferred before all 
others by the Europeans of the Pha- 
raonic age for anointing the body 
and for culinary use. 4 They had begun by eating indiscriminately every 
kind of fruit which the country produced. Many of these, when their 
therapeutic virtues had been learned by experience, were gradually banished 
as articles of food, and their use restricted to medicine; others fell into 

and were the result of great hunting expeditions in the desert. The facts which Lenormant brought 
forward to support his theory may be used against him. For instance, the fawn of the gazelle 
nourished by its mother (Lepsius, Denlem., ii. 12) does not prove that it was bred in captivity; the 
gazelle may have been caught before calving, or just after the birth of its young. The fashion 
of keeping flocks of animals taken from the desert died out between the XII th and XVIII th 
dynasties. At the time of the new empire, they had only one or two solitary animals as pets for 
women or children, the mummies of which were sometimes buried by the side of their mistresses 
(Maspero, Guide du Visiteur au musée de Bouluq, p. 327, No. 5220). 

1 The hatred of the Egyptians for the pig (Herodotus, ii. 47) is attributed to mythological 
motives (Naville, Le Chapitre CXII du Livre des Morts, in the Etudes archéologiques dédiées à M. le 
Dr. G. Leemans, pp. 75-77). LiprERT (Kulturgeschichte, vol. i. p. 545, et seq.) thinks this antipathy 
did not exist in Egypt in primitive times. At the outset the pig would have been the principal food 
of the people ; then, like the dog in other regions, it must have been replaced at the table by animals 
of a higher order — gazelles, sheep, goats, oxen — and would have thus fallen into contempt. To the 
excellent reasons given by Lippert could be added others drawn from the study of the Egyptian 
myths, to prove that the pig has often been highly esteemed. Thus, Isis is represented, down to late 
times, under the form of a sow, and a sow, whether followed or not by her young, is one of the 
amulets placed in the tomb with the deceased, to secure for him the protection of the goddess 
(Maspero, Guide du Visiteur, p. 273, No. 4155). 

2 Mariette, Abydos (vol. i. pi. 48 b, 53). To prevent the animal from evading the lasso and 
escaping during the sacrifice, its right hind foot was fastened to its left horn. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a painting in a Theban tomb of the XVIII th dynasty. 

4 I have often been obliged, from politeness, when dining with the native agents appointed by the 
European powers at Port Said, to eat salads and mayonnaise sauces flavoured with castor-oil; the 
taste was not so disagreeable as might be at first imagined. 



disuse, and only reappeared at sacrifices, or at funeral feasts ; several varieties 
continue to be eaten to the present time — the acid fruits of the nabeca and 
of the carob tree, the astringent figs of the sycamore, the insipid pulp of the 
dom-palm, besides those which are pleasant to our Western palates, such as the 

immemorial the art of making wine from it was known, and even the 
most ancient monuments enumerate half a dozen famous brands, red or white. 2 
Vetches, lupins, beans, chick-peas, lentils, onions, fenugreek, 3 the baniiâ, 4 
the meloukhia, 5 the arum colocasia, 6 all grew wild in the fields, and the river 
itself supplied its quota of nourishing plants. Two of the species of lotus 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from the Description de l'Égypte, Histoire Naturelle, pl. 61. 

2 On the wines of Egypt under the Pharaohs, cf. Brcgsch, Reise nacli der Grossen Oase el-Khargeh, 
pp. 90-93. The four kinds of canonical wine, brought respectively from the north, south, east, and 
west of the country, formed part of the official repast and of the wine-cellar of the deceased from 
remote antiquity. 

3 All these species have been found in the tombs and identified by savants in archaeological 
botany — Kunth, Unger, Schweinfurth (Loret, La Flore Pharaonique, pp. 17, 40, 42, 43, Nos. 33, 97, 
102, 104, 105, 106). 

4 The bamiâ, Hibiscus esculentus, L., is a plant of the family of the Malvaceae, having a fruit of 
five divisions, covered with prickly hairs, and containing round, white, soft seeds, slightly sweet, but 
astringent in taste, and very mucilaginous (S. de Sacy, Relation de l'Égypte par Abd-Allatif, pp. 16, 
37-40). It figures on the monuments of Pharaonic times (Eosellini, Monumenti civili, pi. xxxix. 3, 
and text, vol. i. pp. 380, 381 ; cf. Wœnig, Die Pflanzen im Alten JEgypten, pp. 219, 220). 

5 The meloukhia, Corchorus Olitorius, L., is a plant belonging to the Tilliaceae, which is chopped 
up and cooked much the same as endive is with us, but which few Europeans can eat with pleasure, 
owing to the mucilage it contains (S. de Sacy, Relation de l'Égypte par Abd-Allatif, pp. 16, 17, 40-42). 
Theophrastus says it was celebrated for its bitterness (Historia Plant, vii. 7); it was used as food, 
however, in the Greek town of Alexandria (Pliny, E. N., xxi. 15, 32). 

6 The colocasia, Arum colocasia, L., is mentioned in Pliny (H. N., xix. 5 ; xxiv. 16) among the 
vegetables of Egypt : the root, cooked in water, is still eaten at the present day. 




which grew in the Nile, the white and the blue, have seed-vessels similar to 
those of the poppy : the capsules contain small grains of the size of millet- 
seed. The fruit of the pink lotus " grows on a different stalk from that of the 
flower, and springs directly from the root ; it resembles a honeycomb in form," 
or, to take a more prosaic simile, the rose of a watering-pot. The upper part has 
twenty or thirty cavities, " each containing a seed as big as an olive stone, and 
pleasant to eat either fresh or dried." 1 This is what the ancients called 
the bean of Egypt. 2 "The yearly shoots of the papyrus are also gathered. 
After pulling them up in the marshes, the points are cut off and rejected, the 
part remaining being about a cubit in length. It is eaten as a delicacy and 
is sold in the markets, but those who are fastidious partake of it only after 
baking." 3 Twenty different kinds of grain and fruits, prepared by crushing 
between two stones, are kneaded and baked to furnish cakes or bread ; these 
are often mentioned in the texts as cakes of nabeca, date cakes, and cakes of 
figs. Lily loaves, made from the roots and seeds of the lotus, were the delight 
of the gourmand, and appear on the tables of the kings of the XIX th 
dynasty ; 4 bread and cakes made of cereals formed the habitual food of the 
people. 5 Durrah is of African origin ; it is the " grain of the South " of the 
inscriptions. 6 On the other hand, it is supposed that wheat and six-rowed 
barley came from the region of the Euphrates ; they are still found there 
growing wild, and thence they have spread over the world. 7 Egypt was 
among the first to procure and cultivate them. 8 The soil there is so kind to 

1 Herodotus, ii. 92. The root of two species of lotus is still held in much esteem by the half- 
savage inhabitants of Lake Menzaleh, but they prefer that of the Nymphxa Gserulea (Savaky, Lettres 
sur V Egypte, vol. i. p. 8, note 8; Raffeneau-Delile, Flore d'Egypte, in the Description, vol. xix. 
p. 425). 

2 Diodorus Siculus, i. 10, 34; Theorhrastus, Eist. PL, iv. 10; Strabo, xvii. 799. 

3 Herodotus, ii. 92. On the papyrus of Egypt in general, and on its uses, whether as an edible 
or otherwise, see Fr. Wœnig, Die Pflanzen im Alien JEgypten, pp. 74-129. 

4 Tiû, which is the most ancient word for bread, appears in early times to have been used for 
every kind of paste, whether made with fruits or grain ; the more modern word âqû applies specially 
to bread made from cereals. The lily loaves are mentioned in the Papyrus Anastasi, No. 4, p. 14, 1. 1. 

5 From the Ancient Empire downwards, the rations of the workmen were distributed in corn 
or in loaves. The long flat loaf gai is, moreover, the principal offering brought for the dead ; another 

oval loaf with a jar of water is the determinative for the idea of funeral repast J ^, which 

shows that its use dates from early prehistoric times in Egypt. 

6 The African origin of the common durrah, Eolcus Sorghum, L., is admitted by E. de Candolle, 
Origine des plantes cultivées, pp. 305-307. Its seeds have been found in the tombs (Loret, La Flore 
Pharaonique, p. 12, No. 20), and a representation of it in the Theban paintings (Rosellini, Monu- 
menti civili, pi. xxxvi. 2, and text, vol. i. p. 361, et seq.). I have found it mentioned under the name 
of dirati in the Papyrus Anaslasi, No. iv., p. 13, 1. 12 ; p. 17, 1. 4. 

7 Wheat, tûut, sûo, is the corn of the north of the inscriptions. Barley is iati, ioti. On the Asiatic 
origin of wheat, see E. de Candolle, Origine des plantes cultivées, pp. 285-288 ; his conclusions 
appear to me insufficiently supported by fact. The Semitic name of wheat is found under the form 
\amhû in the Pyramids (Maspero, La Pyramide du roi Te'ti, in the Recueil, vol. v. p. 10). 

8 The position which wheat and barley occupy in the lists of offerings, proves the antiquity of 
ieii existence in Egypt. Mariette found specimens of barley in the tombs of the Ancient Empire 




man, that in many places no agricultural toil is required. As soon as the 
water of the Nile retires, the ground is 
sown without previous preparation, and the 
grain, falling straight into the mud, grows 
as vigorously as in the best-ploughed fur- 
rows. 1 Where the earth is hard it is neces- 
sary to break it up, but the extreme simplicity 
of the instruments with which this was 
done shows what a feeble resistance it 
offered. For a long time the hoe sufficed ; 
a hoe composed of two pieces of wood of 
unequal length, united at one of their 
extremities, and held' together towards the 

middle by a slack cord : the plough, when first invented, was but a slightly 
enlarged hoe, drawn by oxen. 3 The cultivation of cereals, once established 
on the banks of the Nile, 
developed, from earliest times, 
to such a degree as to sup- 
plant all else: hunting, fish- 
ing, the rearing of cattle, 
occupied but a secondary 
place compared with agri- 
culture, and Egypt became, MM 
that which she still remains, 
a vast granary of wheat. 

The part of the valley 
first cultivated was from Gebel ploughing. 4 
Silsileh to the apex of the 

Delta. 5 Between the Libyan and Arabian ranges it presents a slightly 

at Saqqarah (Sciiweinfdrth, Notice sur les restes de végétaux de V Ancienne Egypte contenus dans une 
armoire du musée de Boulaq, in the Bulletin de l'Institut Egyptien, 2nd scries, vol. v. p. 4). 

1 P. -S. Girard, Mémoire sur V Agriculture, l'Industrie et le Commerce de l'Égypte, in the Description 
de l'Égypte, vol. xviii. p. 49. , 

2 Bas relief from the tomb of Ti ; drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil 

3 Costaz, Grottes d'Élelhyia, in the Description de l'Égypte, vol. vi. p. 105; Maspero, Etudes 
Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 68-71. 

* Bas-relief from the tomb of Ti ; drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil 

5 This was the tradition of all the ancients. Herodotus related that, according to the Egyptians, 
the whole of Egypt, with the exception of the Theban nome, was a vast swamp previous to the 
time of Menés (Herodotus, ii. 4). Aristotle (Meteorolog., i. xiv.) adds that the Red Sea, the 
Mediterranean, and the area now occupied by the Delta, formed one sea. Cf. pp. 3-5 of this volume, 
on the formation of the Delta. 



convex surface, furrowed lengthways by a depression, in the bottom of which 
the Nile is gathered and enclosed when the inundation is over. In the 
summer, as soon as the river had risen higher than the top of its banks, the 
water rushed by the force of gravity towards the lower lands, hollowing in its 
course long channels, some of which never completely dried up, even when 
the Nile reached its lowest level. 1 Cultivation was easy in the neighbourhood 
of these natural reservoirs, but everywhere else the movements of the river 
were rather injurious thnn advantageous to man. The inundation scarcely 
ever covered the higher ground in the valley, which therefore remained unpro- 
ductive ; it flowed rapidly over the lands of medium elevation, and moved so 
sluggishly in the hollows that they became weedy and stagnant pools. 2 In 
any year the portion not watered by the river was invaded by the sand : from 
the lush vegetation of a hot country, there was but one step to absolute aridity. 
At the present day an ingeniously established system of irrigation allows the 
agriculturist to direct and distribute the overflow according to his needs. 
From Gebel Ain to the sea, the Nile and its principal branches are bordered 
by long dykes, which closely follow the windings of the river and furnish 
sufficiently stable embankments. Numerous canals lead off to right and 
left, directed more or less obliquely towards the confines of the valley ; they 
are divided at intervals by fresh dykes, starting at the one side from the 
river, and ending on the other either at the Bahr Yusuf or at the rising of the 
desert. Some of these dykes protect one district only, and consist merely 
of a bank of earth ; others command a large extent of territory, and a breach 
in them would entail the ruin of an entire province. These latter are some- 
times like real ramparts, made of crude brick carefully cemented ; a few, 
as at Qosheish, have a core of hewn stones, which later generations have 
covered with masses of brickwork, and strengthened with constantly renewed 
buttresses of earth. They wind across the plain with many unexpected and 
apparently aimless turns; on closer examination, however, it may be seen 
that this irregularity is not to be attributed to ignorance or caprice. Experience 
had taught the Egyptians the art of picking out, upon the almost imperceptible 
relief of the soil, the easiest lines to use against the inundation : of these they 
have followed carefully the sinuosities, and if the course of the dykes appears 
singular, it is to be ascribed to the natural configuration of the ground. 
Subsidiary embankments thrown up between the principal ones, and parallel 

1 The whole description of the damage which can be done by the Nile in places where the- 
inundation is not regulated, is borrowed from Linant de Bellefonds, Mémoire sur les principaux 
travaux d'utilité publique, p. 3. 

2 This physical configuration of the country explains the existence at a very early date of those- 
gigantic serpents which I have already mentioned ; cf. p. 33, note 5, of this History. 



to the Nile, separate the higher ground bordering the river from the low 
lands on the confines of the valley ; they divide the larger basins into smaller 
divisions of varying area, in which the irrigation is regulated by means of 
special trenches. 1 As long as the Nile is falling, the dwellers on its banks 
leave their canals in free communication with it; but they dam them up 
towards the end of the winter, just before the return of the inundation, and 
do not reopen them till early in August, when the new flood is at its height. 
The waters then flowing in by the trenches are arrested by the nearest trans- 
verse dyke and spread over the fields. When they have stood there long 
enough to saturate the ground, the dyke is pierced, and they pour into the 
next basin until they are stopped by a second dyke, which in its turn forces 
them again to spread out on either side. This operation is renewed from 
dyke to dyke, till the valley soon becomes a series of artificial ponds, ranged 
one above another, and flowing one into another from Gebel Silsileh to the 
apex of the Delta. In autumn, the mouth of each ditch is dammed up anew, 
in order to prevent the mass of water from flowing back into the stream. The 
transverse dykes, which have been cut in various places, are also repaired, and 
the basins become completely landlocked, separated by narrow causeways. In 
some places, the water thus imprisoned is so shallow that it is soon absorbed 
by the soil ; in others, it is so deep, that after it has been kept in for several 
weeks, it is necessary to let it run off into a neighbouring depression, or straight 
into the river itself. 2 

History has left us no account of the vicissitudes of the struggle in which 
the Egyptians were engaged with the Nile, nor of the time expended in bring- 
ing it to a successful issue. Legend attributes the idea of the system and its 
partial working out to the god Osiris : 3 then Menés, the first mortal king, is 
said to have made the dyke of Qosheish, on which depends the prosperity of 
the Delta 4 and Middle Egypt, and the fabulous M ce ris is supposed to have 
extended the blessings of the irrigation to the Fayûm. 5 In reality, the 

1 The first precise information about the arrangement of a basin, or a series of basins, was 
collected at the beginning of our century by Martin, Description géographique des provinces de Beni- 
Soutyf et du Fayoum, in the Description de V Egypte, vol. xvi. p. 6, et seq. The regulations to which 
the basins of Upper Egypt and of the Delta are subject has been well described by Chélu, Le Nil, 
le Soudan, V Egypte, p. 323, et seq. 

2 P.-S. Girard, Mémoire sur V Agriculture, V Industrie et le Commerce de l'Egypte, in the Description 
de l'Egypte, vol. xvii. pp. 10-13. For the technical details of the progressive filling and emptying of 
the basins, see again Chélu, Le Nil, le Soudan, VÉgypte, pp. 325-333. 

3 Diod. Siculus, i. 19, who borrowed this information from the hymns of the Alexandrine period. 

4 Bunsen, Egypt's Place in Universal History, vol. ii. p. 41, interpreting a passage of Herodotus 
(ii. 91), thinks that it was the dyke of Qosheisli, the construction of which the Egyptians attributed 
to Menés. 

5 Herodotus, ii. 150, 149, where it is useless to seek to identify an actual Pharaoh with 



regulation of the inundation and the making of cultivable land are the work 
of unrecorded generations who peopled the valley. The kings of the historic 
period had only to maintain and develop certain points of what had already 
been done, and Upper Egypt is to this day chequered by the network of 
waterways with which its earliest inhabitants covered it. The work must 
have begun simultaneously at several points, without previous agreement, 
and, as it were, instinctively. A dyke protecting a village, a canal draining 
or watering some small province, demanded the efforts of but few indi- 
viduals ; then the dykes would join one another, the canals would be pro- 
longed till they met others, and the work undertaken by chance would be 
improved, and would spread, with the concurrence of an ever-increasing 


population. What happened at the end of last century, shows us that the 
system grew and was developed at the expense of considerable quarrels and 
bloodshed. The inhabitants of each district carried out the part of the work 
most conducive to their own interest, seizing the supply of water, keeping it 
and discharging it at pleasure, without considering whether they were injuring 
their neighbours by depriving them of their supply or by flooding them ; 
hence arose perpetual strife and fighting. It became imperative that the 
rights of the weaker should be respected, and that the system of distribution 
should be co-ordinated, for the country to accept a beginning at least of social 
organization analogous to that which it acquired later : the Nile thus 
determined the political as well as the physical constitution of Egypt. 2 

The country was divided among communities, whose members were 
supposed to be descended from the same seed (fâît) and to belong to the same 

1 Bas-relief from the tomb of Ti ; drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by E. Brugsch-Bey. 

2 For the state of the irrigation service at the beginning of our century, and for the differences 
which arose between the villages over the distribution of the water, and on the manner in which the 
supply was cut off, see P.-S. Girakd, Mémoire sur l'Agriculture, l'Industrie et le Commerce de Egypte, 
in the Description de l'Egypte, vol. xvii. p. 13, et seq. ; for the present legislation, see Chélc, Le Nil> 
le Soudan, l'Egypte, pp. 308-321, 482, et seq. 



family (pMtû 1 ): the chiefs of them were called ropâîtû, the guardians, or 
pastors of the family, and in later times their name became a title applicable 
to the nobility in general. 
Families combined and formed 
groups of various importance 
under the authority of a head 
chief — rofâîtû-hâ. 2. They were, 
in fact, hereditary lords, dis- 
pensing justice, levying taxes 
in kind on their subordinates, 
reserving to themselves the 
redistribution of land, lead- 
ing their men to battle, and 
sacrificing to the gods. 3 The 
territories over which they 
exercised authority formed 
small states, whose boundaries 
even now, in some places, can 
be pointed out with certainty. 
The principality of the Tere- 
binth 4 occupied the very 
heart of Egypt, where the 
valley is widest, and the course 
of the Nile most advantage- 
ously disposed by nature — a 
country well suited to be the 
cradle of an infant civilization. Siaût (Siût), the capital, is built almost at 
the foot of the Libyan range, on a strip of land barely a mile in width, which 


1 The word pâitû has been interpreted by M. Lepage-Renouf (Proceedings of the Biblical Archxo- 
Jogical Society, 1887-88, x. p. 77) to signify " the dead, past generations." The sense indicated in 
the text was proposed by Maspero (Études Egyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 15, et seq ) and afterwards adopted 
by Brugsch (Die JEgyptologie, p. 291). 

2 These titles have been explained by Maspero (Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 15-19, and 
Notes au jour le jour, § 25, in the Proceedings of the Biblical Archxological Society, 1891-92, 
vol. xiv. p. 314 ; cf. JPiehl, in the Eecueil de Travaux, vol. i. p. 133, n. 1, and Zeitschrift, 1883, 
p. 128). 

3 These prerogatives were still exercised by the princes of the nomes under the Middle and New 
Empires (Maspero, La Grande Inscription de Beni-Hassan, in the Recueil, vol. i. pp. 179-181); they 
only enjoyed them then by the good will of the reigning sovereign. 

4 The Egyptian word for the tree which gives its name to this principality is alf, iatf, iotf : it is 
only by a process of elimination that I have come to identify it with the Pistacia Terebinthus, L., 
which furnished the Egyptians with the scented resin tnûtir (Loret, La Flore pharaonique, p. 44, 
No. 110). 

5 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Dumichen, Resultate, vol. ii. pi. vii. 



separates the river from the hills. A canal surrounds it on three sides, and makes, 

as it were, a natural ditch 
about its walls ; during the 
inundation it is connected 
with the mainland only by 
narrow causeways — shaded 
with mimosas — and looking 
like a raft of verdure aground 
in the current. 1 The site 
is as happy as it is pictur- 
esque ; not only does the 
town command the two arms 
of the river, opening or 
closing the waterway at 
will, but from time imme- 
morial the most frequented 
of the routes into Central 
Africa has terminated at its 
gates, bringing to it the 
commerce of the Soudan. 
It held sway, at the out- 
set, over both banks, from 
range to range, northward 
as far as Deyrût, where 
the true Bahr Yusuf leaves 
the Nile, and southward to 
the neighbourhood of Gebel 
Sheikh Haridi. The extent 
and original number of the 
other principalities is not so 
easily determined. The most 
important, to the north of 
Siût, were those of the Hare 
and the Oleander. The principality of the Hare never reached the dimen- 
sions of that of its neighbour the Terebinth, but its chief town was Khmûnû, 
whose antiquity was so remote, that a universally accepted tradition made 
it the scene of the most important acts of creation. 2 That of the Oleander, 

I..Thu 1 Hier.del^ 

1 Boudier's drawing, reproduced on p. 25, and taken from a photograph by Beato, gives most 
faithfully the aspect presented by the plain and the modern town of Siout during the inundation. 

2 Khmûnû, the present Ashmûneîn, is the Hermopolis of the Greeks, the town of the god Thot. 



wf Gi-eenwich 


tuuAi Men 



.<ws,;<ii* ,s 

Kùjtf. fApoUiAopolu fiu 

Tôpohj (KenJtAj 

, two 

\Sp arr ow -h a wks 

^cn}^£pijt ( Shjtnhùr) 

Jfadû , (MccLajnot) 

on the contrary, was even larger than that of the Terebinth, and from 
Hininsû, its chief governor ruled alike over the marshes of the Fayûm and 
the plains of Beni-Suef. 1 
To the south, Apû on the 
right bank governed a 
district so closely shut in 
between a bend of the 
Nile and two spurs of 
the range, that its limits 
have never varied much 
since ancient times. Its 
inhabitants were divided 
in their employment be- 
tween weaving and the 
culture of cereals. From 
early times they possessed 
the privilege of furnish- 
ing clothing to a large 
part of Egypt, and their 
looms, at the present day, 
still make those checked 
or striped " melayahs " 
which the fellah women 
wear over their long blue 
tunics. 2 Beyond Apû, 
Thinis, the Girgeh of the 
Arabs, situate on both 
banks of the river, rivalled 
Khmûnû in antiquity and Shit in wealth: its plains still produce the 
richest harvests and feed the most numerous herds of sheep and oxen in 
the Said. As we approach the cataract, information becomes scarcer. Qûbti 

Aùnjj.-tLCsit, WcrrtiitntAtJ,} a\^A/^i-^-- ^h^J^^ sor f 
' £ V™^,fcttHfu£ (Tu/SIUofi.,TiLÛM.) 

Nome'\of tn«Atw<3 Feathers 

/là. -jf<lû lAsph y ni^Asfin- )^JffAkuiajl (Knfr JTCt,/ 




tfc. 'ù*ct Ma/isurù 

/slaju£ of Se/. 



L.Thuillier.del 1 

For the geography of the nome of the Hare, of which it is the capital, see Masfero, Notes au 
jour le jour, § 19, in the Proceedings of the Biblical Archaeological Society, 1891-92, vol. xiv. pp. 

1 Hininsû is the Heracleopolis Magna of the Greeks, the present Henassieh, called also Ahnas-el- 
Medineh. The Egyptian word for the tree which gives its name to this principality, is Nârît 
(Dvmichen, Geschichte JEgyptens, pp. 209, 210). Loret has shown that this tree, Nârît, is the oleander 
(Sur l'arbre Nàrou des anciens Égyptiens, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. xv. p. 102). 

2 Apû was the Panopolis or Chemmis of the Greeks, the town of the god Mîn or ithyphallic Khimû 
(Brcgsch, Dictionnaire géographique, pp. 575, 1380). Its manufactures of linen are mentioned by 
Strabo (xvii. p. 813) ; the majority of the beautiful Coptic woven fabrics and embroideries which have 
been brought to Europe lately, come from the necropolis of the Arab period at Apû. 



and Aûnû of the South, the Coptos and Hermonthis of the Greeks, shared 
peaceably the plain occupied later on by Thebes and its temples, and Ne- 
khabît and Zobû watched over the safety of Egypt. 1 Nekhabît soon lost its 
position as a frontier town, and that portion of Nubia lying between Gebel 
Silsileh and the rapids of Syene formed a kind of border province, of which 
Nubît-Ombos was the principal sanctuary and Abû-Elephantine the fortress : 2 
beyond this were the barbarians, and those inaccessible regions whence the 
Nile descended upon our earth. 

The organization of the Delta, it would appear, was more slowly brought 
about. It must have greatly resembled that of the lowlands of Equatorial 
Africa, towards the confluence of the Bahr el Abiad and the Bahr el Ghazâl. 
Great tracts of mud, difficult to describe as either solid or liquid, marshes 
dotted here and there with sandy islets, bristling with papyrus reeds, water-lilies, 
and enormous plants through which the arms of the Nile sluggishly pushed 
their ever-shifting course, low-lying wastes intersected with streams and pools, 
unfit for cultivation and scarcely available for pasturing cattle. 3 The popula- 
tion of such districts, engaged in a ceaseless struggle with nature, always 
preserved relatively ruder manners, and a more rugged and savage character, 
impatient of all authority. The conquest of this region began from the outer 
edge only. A few principalities were established at the apex of the Delta in 
localities where the soil had earliest been won from the river. It appears that 
one of these divisions embraced the country south of and between the bifurca- 
tion of the Nile : Aûnû of the North, the Heliopolis of the Greeks, was its capital. 
In very early times the principality was divided, and formed three new states, 
independent of each other. Those of Aûnû and the Haunch were opposite to 
each other, the first on the Arabian, the latter on the Libyan bank of the Nile. 
The district of the White Wall marched with that of the Haunch on the 
north, and on the south touched the territory of the Oleander. Further 
down the river, between the more important branches, the governors of Sais 
and of Bubastis, of Athribis and of Busiris, shared among themselves the 
primitive Delta. 4 Two frontier provinces of unequal size, the Arabian on 

1 Nûkhabît, Nekhabît, the hieroglyphic name of which was first correctly read by E. de Bougé 
(Cours profess? au Collège de France, 1869), is el-Kab, the Eilithyia of the Greeks (Brlgsch, Diction- 
naire Géographique, pp. 351-353), and Zobû, Edfû, Apollinopolis Magna (Bjrugsch, Dictionnaire 
Géographique, pp. 921, 922). 

2 The nome of Elephantine was called Khontît, the advanced, the point of Egypt (Lepsitjs, Der 
Bogen in der Hieroglyphik, in the Zeitschrift, 1872, pp. 86-88; cf. Brugsch, Die Biblischen sieben 
Jahre der Hungersnoth, p. 26, et seq.). 

3 All the features of this description are taken from notes of my travels ; it is the aspect presented 
in those districts of the Delta where the artificial regulation of the water has completely disappeared 
owing to the inveterate negligence of the central government. 

4 See p. 4 of this volume for the description of this primitive Delta. 


the east in the Wady Tumilat, and the Libyan on the west to the south of Lake 
Mareotis, defended the approaches of the country from the attacks of Asiatic 
Bedâwins and of African nomads. The marshes of the interior and the dunes 
of the littoral, were not conducive to the development of any great industry or 
civilization. They only comprised tracts of thinly populated country, like the 
principalities of the Harpoon and of the Cow, and others whose limits varied 
from century to century with the changing course of the river. The work of 

j'tt/jtta ti. J% À 

M E D 

I ThuJUer del* 

rendering the marshes salubrious and of digging canals, which had been so 
successful in the Nile Valley, was less efficacious in the Delta, and proceeded 
more slowly. Here the embankments were not supported by a mountain chain : 
they were continued at random across the marshes, cut at every turn to admit 
the waters of a canal or of an arm of the river. The waters left their usual 
bed at the least disturbing influence, and made a fresh course for themselves 
across country. If the inundation were delayed, the soft and badly drained soil 
again became a slough : should it last but a few weeks longer than usual, the 



work of several generations was for a long time undone. The Delta of 
one epoch rarely presented the same aspect as that of previous periods, and 
Northern Egypt never became as fully mistress of her soil as the Egypt of 
the south. 1 

These first principalities, however small they appear to us, were yet too 
large to remain undivided. In those times of slow communication, the strong 
attraction which a capital exercised over the provinces under its authority did 
not extend over a wide radius. That part of the population of the Terebinth, 
living sufficiently near to Siût to come into the town for a few hours in the 
morning, returning in the evening to the villages when business was done, 
would not feel any desire to withdraw from the rule of the prince who 
governed there. On the other hand, those who lived outside that restricted 
circle were forced to seek elsewhere some places of assembly to attend the 
administration of justice, to sacrifice in common to the national gods, and to 
exchange the produce of the fields and of local manufactures. Those towns 
which had the good fortune to become such rallying-points naturally played 
the part of rivals to the capital, and their chiefs, with the district whose 
population, so to speak, gravitated around them, tended to become independent 
of the prince. When they succeeded in doing this, they often preserved for 
the new state thus created, the old name, slightly modified by the addition of 
an epithet. The primitive territory of Siut was in this way divided into 
three distinct communities; two, which remained faithful to the old emblem 
of the tree — the Upper Terebinth, with Shit itself in the centre, and the 
Lower Terebinth, with Kûsit to the north ; the third, in the south and east, 
took as their totem the immortal serpent which dwelt in their mountains, and 
called themselves the Serpent Mountain, whose chief town was that of the 
Sparrow Hawk. The territory of the Oleander produced by its dismemberment 
the principality of the Upper Oleander, that of the Lower Oleander, and that 
of the Knife. The territory of the Harpoon in the Delta divided itself into 
the Western and Eastern Harpoon. 2 The fission in most cases could not have 
been accomplished without struggles ; but it did take place, and all the prin- 
cipalities having a domain of any considerable extent had to submit to it, 
however they may have striven to avoid it. This parcelling out was continued 
as circumstances afforded opportunity, uni il the whole of Egypt, except the 

1 For the geography of the Delta, consult the work of J. de Bougé, Géographie ancienne de la 
Basse-Egypte, 1891, in which are brought together, discussed, and carefully co-ordinated, the in- 
formation scattered about in alphabetical order in the admirable Dictionnaire Géographique of 

2 J. de Botjgk, Géographie ancienne de la Basse-Egypte, pp. 30-56. 



half desert districts about the cataract, became but an agglomeration of petty 
states nearly equal in power and population. 1 

The Greeks called them nomes, and we have borrowed the word from 
them ; 2 the natives named them in several ways, the most ancient term being 
" nûît," which may be translated domain? and the most common appellation 
in recent times being "hospû," which signifies district.* The number of the 
nomes varied considerably in the course of centuries : the hieroglyphic monu- 
ments and classical authors fixed them sometimes at thirty-six, sometimes at 
forty, sometimes at forty-four, or even fifty. The little that we know of 
their history, up to the present time, explains the reason of this variation. 
Ceaselessly quarrelled over by the princely families who possessed them, the 
nomes were alternately humbled and exalted by civil wars, marriages, and 
conquest, which caused them continually to pass into fresh hands, either entire 
or divided. The Egyptians, whom we are accustomed to consider as a people 
respecting the established order of things, and conservative of ancient tra- 
dition, showed themselves as restless and as prone to modify or destroy the 
work of the past, as the most inconstant of our modern nations. The distance 
of time which separates them from us, and the almost complete absence of 
documents, gives them an appearance of immobility, by which we are liable to 
be unconsciously deceived ; when the monuments still existing shall have been 
unearthed, their history will present the same complexity of incidents, the 
same agitations, the same instability, which we suspect or know to have been 
characteristic of most other Oriental nations. One thing alone remained stable 
among them in the midst of so many revolutions, and which prevented them 
from losing their individuality and from coalescing in a common unity. This 
was the belief in and the worship of one particular deity. If the little 
capitals of the petty states whose origin is lost in a remote past — Edfu and 
Denderah, Nekhabît and Bûto, Siùt, Thinis, Klimûnû, Saïs, Bubastis, 
Athribis — had only possessed that importance which resulted from the presence 

1 Examples of the subdivision of ancient nomes and the creation of fresh nomes are met with 
long after primitivo times. We find, for example, tlie nome of the Western Harpoon divided under 
the Greeks and Komans into two districts — that of the Harpoon proper, of which the chief town was 
Sonti-nofir; and that of Ranîifir, with the Onûphis of classical geographers for its capital (Brugsch, 
Dictionnaire Géographique, pp. 1012-1020). 

2 The definition of the word nome, and those passages in ancient authors where it is used, will 
be found in Jablonski, Opuscula, ed. T. Water, vol. i. pp. 1G9-17G. 

3 For the various meanings of this word, see Maspero, Sur le sens des mots Nûit et Hâit, in the 
Proceedings of the Biblical Archxological Society, 1889-90, vol. xii. p. 236, et seq. 

4 Brcgsch, Geogr. Ins., vol. i. pp. 18-21 ; cf. Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 1S3-186. 
The word tôsh, which iu the Coptic texts has replaced hospû and nûit, signified originally limit, 
frontier ; it is, properly speaking, the territory marked out and limited by the stelx which belongs to 
a town or a village. 



of an ambitious petty prince, or from the wealth of their inhabitants, they 
would, never have passed safe and sound through the long centuries of 
existence which they enjoyed from the opening to the close of Egyptian 
history. Fortune raised their chiefs, some even to the rank of rulers of the 
world, and in turn abased them : side by side with the earthly ruler, whose 
glory was but too often eclipsed, there was enthroned in each nome a 
divine ruler, a deity, a god of the domain, " nûtir nûiti," whose greatness 
never perished. The princely families might be exiled or become extinct, 
the extent of the territory might diminish or increase, the town might 
be doubled in size and population or fall in ruins : the god lived on 
through all these vicissitudes, and his presence alone preserved intact the 
rights of the state over which he reigned as sovereign. If any disaster befell 
his worshippers, his temple was the spot where the survivors of the catastrophe 
rallied around him, their religion preventing them from mixing with the 
inhabitants of neighbouring towns and from becoming lost among them. The 
survivors multiplied with that extraordinary rapidity which is the cha- 
racteristic of the Egyptian fellah, and a few years of peace sufficed to repair 
losses which apparently were irreparable. Local religion was the tie which 
bound together those divers elements of which each principality was composed, 
and as long as it remained, the nomes remained ; when it vanished, they dis- 
appeared with it. 





Multiplicity of the Egyptian gods : the commonalty of the gods, its varieties, human, animal, 
and intermediate between man and beast ; gods of foreign origin, indigenous gods, and the 
contradictory forms loith which they were invested in accordance with various conceptions of 
their nature. 

The Star-gods — The Sun-god as the Eye of the Sky ; as a bird, as a calf, and as a man; its 
barks, voyages round the world, and encounters with the serpent Apopi — The Moon-god and its 
enemies— The Star-gods: the Haunch of the Ox, the Hippopotamus, the Lion, the five Horns- 
planets; Sothis Sirius, and Sahil Orion. 

Ttie feudal gods and their classes : the Nile-gods, the earth-gods, the sky-gods and the sun-god, 
the Horus-gods — The equality of feudal gods and goddesses; their persons, alliances, and mar- 
riages : their children — The triads and their various developments. 

The nature of the gods : the double, the sold, the body, death of men and gods, and their fate 
after death — The necessity for preserving the body, mummification — Dead gods the gods of the 
dead — The living gods, their temples and images — The gods of the people, trees, serpents, family 
fetiches — The theory of prayer and sacrifice : the servants of the temples, the property of the 
gods, the sacerdotal colleges. 

( 80 ) 

The cosmogonies of the Delta: Sibâ and Nûît, Osiris and Isis, Sit and Nephthys — Heliopolis 
and its theological schools : Râ, his identification ivith Horus, his dual nature, and the concep- 
tion of Atûmû — The Heliopolitan Enneads : formation of the Great Ennead — Thot and the 
Hermopolitan Ennead : creation by articulate words and by voice alone-^Diff ttsion of the 
Enneads: their connection with the local triads, the god One and the god Eight — The one and 
only gvds. 




Their number and their nature — The feudal gods, living and dead — The Triads — Temples and 
priests— The cosmogonies of the Delta — The Enneads of Heliopolis and of Hennopolis. 

HE incredible number of religious scenes to be found 
among the representations on the ancient monuments 
of Egypt is at first glance very striking. Nearly 
every illustration in the works of Egyptologists 
brings before us the figure of some deity receiving 
with an impassive countenance the prayers and 
offerings of a worshipper. One would think that 
the country had been inhabited for the most 
part by gods, and contained just sufficient men 
and animals to satisfy the requirements of their 
\ worship. 

On penetrating into this mysterious world, we are 
I confronted by an actual rabble of gods, each one of 
whom has always possessed but a limited and almost 
unconscious existence. They severally represented 
a function, a moment in the life of man or of the 
universe : thus Naprît was identified with the ripe ear, or the grain of wheat ; 2 

1 Bas-relief in the temple of Luxor. Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Beato, taken 
in 1890. The two personages marching in front, carrying great bouquets, and each with an up- 
lifted hand, are the last in a long procession of the sons of Barneses II. The vignette, which 
represents King Seti I. kneeling, is also drawn by Boudier, and is from a bas-relief of the temple 
of A by dos. 

2 The word naprît means grain, the grain of wheat (Brugsch, Diet. Hiéroglyphique, pp. 752, 753). 
The grain-god is represented in the tomb of Seti I. (Lefébdre, Le Tombeau de Séti T'\ Lu the 




Maskhomt appeared by the child's cradle at the very moment of its birth ; 1 and 

Raninît presided over the naming and the nurture 
of the newly born. 2 Neither Raninît, the fairy god- 
mother, nor Maskhomt exercised over nature as a 
whole that sovereign authority which we are accus- 
tomed to consider the primary attribute of deity. 
Every day of every year was passed by the one 
in easing the pangs of women in travail ; by the 
other, in choosing for each baby a name of an auspi- 
cious sound, and one which would afterwards serve to 
exorcise the influences of evil fortune. No sooner 
were their tasks accomplished in one place than 
they hastened to another, where approaching birth 
demanded their presence and their care. From 
child-bed to child-bed they passed, and if they 
fulfilled the single offices in which they were ac- 
counted adepts, the pious asked nothing more of 
them. Bands of mysterious cynocephali haunting 
the Eastern and the Western mountains concen- 
trated the whole of their activity on one passing 
moment of the day. They danced and chattered 
the goddess napeît, napît. 3 in the East for half an hour, to salute the sun at 

Mémoires de la Mission Française, vol. ii. part iv. pi. xxix., 2nd row ; pi. xxxi., 3rd row) as a man 
wearing two full ears of wheat or bailey upon his head. He is mentioned in the Hymn to the Nile 
(cf. p. 40) about the same date, and in two or three other texts of different periods. The goddess 
Naprit, or Napit, to whom reference is here made, was his duplicate (Burton, Exeerpta Hieroglyphica, 
pi. xix. ; Lepsius, Denkm., iv. 52 ; Dumichen, Eesultate, vol. ii. pi. Ixi.) ; her head-dress is a 6heaf 
of corn (Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, pp. 380, 381), as in the illustration. 

1 This goddess, whose name expresses and whose form personifies the brick or stone couch, the 
child-bed or -chair, upon which women in labour bowed themselves, is sometimes subdivided into two 
or four secondai-}' divinities (Mariette, Dendérah, vol. iv. pi. lxxiv. a, and p. 288 of the text). She 
is mentioned along with Shaît, destiny, and Kaninît, suckling (Maspero, Etudes Egyptiennes, vol. i. 
p. 27). Her part of fairy godmother at the cradle of the new-born child is indicated in the passage of 
1he Westcar Papyrus giving a detailed account of the births of three kings of the fifth dynasty 
(Erman, Die Marchen des Papyrus Westcar, pi. ix. part 21, et seq. ; cf. Maspero, Les Contes populaires 
de l'Égypte Ancienne, 2nd edit., pp. 7U-81 ; Pétrie, Egyptian Tales, vol. i. pp. 33-38). She is repre- 
sented in human form, and often wears upon her head two long palm-shoots, curling over at their 
ends (Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, pp. 329, 330, and pl. cxxxiv. 1, 2). 

2 Raninît presides over the child's suckling, but she also gives him his name (Maspero, Les Contes 
populaires, 2nd edit., p. 76, note 1), and hence, his fortune (Maspero, Etudes Egyptiennes, vol. i. p. 27). 
She is on the whole the nursing goddess (Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, pp. 472 -477, and pis. 
clxxxviii.-clxxxix.). Sometimes she is represented as a human-headed woman (Lepsius, Denkm., iii. 
188 a ; Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. pi. xlv. 5, 6, and pp. 213, 214), or as lioness- 
headed (Lepsius, Denkm., iv. 57), most frequently with the head of a serpent (Lepsius, Denkm., iii. 
pl. clxx. ; Prisse d'Avennes, Monuments, pl. i. ; Mariette, Dendérah, vol. iii. pi. lxxv. b-c); she is 
also the urseus, clothed, and wearing two long plumes on her head (Prisse d'Avennes, Monuments, 
frontispiece), and a simple urseus, as represented in the illustration on p. 120. 

3 The goddess Naprît, Napit ; bas-relief from the first chamber of Osiris, on the east side of the 
great temple of Denderah. Drawn by Faucher- G udin. 



his rising, even as others in the West hailed him on his entrance into 
night. 1 It was the duty of certain genii to open gates in Hades, or to 
keep the paths daily traversed by the sun. 2 These genii were always 
at their posts, never free to leave them, and possessed no other faculty 
than that of punctually fulfilling their appointed offices. Their existence, 
generally unperceived, was suddenly revealed at the very moment when 
the specific acts of their lives were on the point of accomplishment. 
These being completed, the divinities fell back into their state of inertia, 
and were, so to speak, reabsorbed by their functions until the next 


■occasion. 4 Scarcely visible even by glimpses, they were not easily 
depicted ; their real forms being often unknown, these were approximately 
conjectured from their occupations. The character and costume of an 
archer, or of a spear-man, were ascribed to such as roamed through Hades, 
to pierce the dead with arrows or with javelins. Those who prowled around 
souls to cut their throats and hack them to pieces were represented as 
women armed with knives, carvers — donit — or else as lacerators — noJctt. 5 
1 Some appeared in human form; others as animals — bulls or lions, rams or 
monkeys, serpents, fish, ibises, hawks ; others dwelt in inanimate things, 

1 This is the subject of a vignette in the Book of the Dead, ch. xvi. (Naville's edition, pi. xxi. 
A2 and La, pi. xxii. Da), where the cynocephali are placed in echelon upon the slopes of the hill on 
the horizon, right and left of the radiant solar disk, to which they offer worship by gesticulations. 

2 Maspero, Éludes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 34, 35. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from Champollion's copies, made from the tombs of Beni-Hassan. 
To the right is the sha, one of the animals of Sit, and an exact image of the god with his stiff and 
arrow-like tail. Next comes the safir, the griffin ; and, lastly, we have the serpent-headed saza. 

* The Egyptians employed a still more forcible expression than our word " absorption " to express 
this idea. It was said of objects wherein these genii concealed themselves, and whence they issued 
in order to re-enter them immediately, that these forms ate them, or that they ate their own forms 
(Maspeeo, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 104, 105, 106, 124, etc.). 

s Maspero, Éludes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 34, 35. Examples of 
donît and nokît are incidentally given on the walls of the tomb of Seti I. (Lepébure, Le Tombeau de 
Seti I er , in the Mémoires de la Mission Française, vol. ii., 4th part, pl. xliv., 2nd row). 



such as trees, 1 sistrums, 2 stakes stuck in the ground ; 3 and lastly, many 
betrayed a mixed origin in their combinations of human and animal forms. 
These latter would bo regarded by us as monsters; to the Egyptians, they 
were beings, rarer perhaps than the rest, but none the less real, and their like 
might be encountered in the neighbourhood of Egypt. 4 How could men who 
believed themselves surrounded by sphinxes and griffins of flesh and blood 
doubt that there were bull-headed and hawk-headed divinities with human 
busts ? The existence of such paradoxical creatures was proved by much 
authentic testimony ; more than one hunter had distinctly seen them as they 
ran along the furthest planes of the horizon, beyond the herds of gazelles of 
which he was in chase ; and shepherds dreaded them for their flocks as truly 
as they dreaded the lions, or the great felida* of the desert. 5 

This nation of gods, like nations of men, contained foreign elements, 
the origin of which was known to the Egyptians themselves. They knew 
that Hâthor, the milch cow, had taken up her abode in their land from 
very ancient times, and they called her the Lady of Pûanît, after the 
name of her native country. 6 Bîsû had followed her in course of time, 
and claimed his share of honours and worship along with her. He first 
appeared as a leopard ; then he became a man clothed in a leopard's 

1 Tims, the sycamores planted on the e;lge of the desert were supposed to be inhabited by Hâthor, 
Nûît, Selkît, Nît, or some other goddess (Maspkro, Eludes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, 
vol. ii. pp. 28, 29). In vignettes representing the deceased as stopping before one of these trees and 
receiving water and loaves of bread, the bust of the goddess generally appears from amid her shelter- 
ing foliage (Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, pi. cli. 2)." But occasionally, as on the sarcophagus 
of Petosiris (Maspero, Catalogue du Musée Egyptien de Marseille, p. 52), the transformation is 
complete, and the trunk from which the branches spread is the actual body of the god or goddess (cf. 
Eochemonteix, Edfou, pi. xxix. a, Isis and Nephthys in the sycamore). Finally, the whole body is 
often hidden, and only the arm of the goddess to be seen emerging from the midst of the tree, with 
an overflowing libation vase in her hand (Navili.e, Todtenbuch, pis. lxxiii., ciii.). 

2 Thus, in Mariette, Dende'rah, vol. ii. pi. 55 c, we have the image of the great sistrum con- 
secrated by Thûtmosis III., which was the fetish of the goddess Hâthor. 

3 The trunk of a tree, disbranched, and then set up in the ground, seems to me the origin of 
the Osirian emblem called tat or didû (Maspero, Catalogue du Musée Egyptien de Marseille, p. 164, 
No. 878). The symbol was afterwards so conventionalized as to represent four columns seen in 
perspective, one capital overtopping another ; it thus became the image of the four pillars which 
uphold the world (Petrie, Medum, p. 31 ; Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, 
vol. ii. p. 359, note 3). 

4 The belief in the real existence of fantastic animals was first noted by Maspero, Eludes de 
Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 117, 118, 132, and vol. ii. p. 213. Until then, 
scholars only recognized the sphinx, and other Egyptian monsters, as allegorical combinations by 
which the priesthood claimed to give visible expression in one and the same being to physical or 
moral qualities belonging to several different beings. The later theory has now been adopted by 
Wiedemann (Le Culte des animaux en Égypte, pp. 14, 15), and by most contemporary Egyptologists. 

6 At Beni-Hassan and in Thebes many of the fantastic animals mentioned in the text, griffins, 
hierosphinxes, serpent-headed lions, are placed along with animals which might be encountered by 
local princes hunting in the desert (Champollion, Monuments de l'Egypte et de la Nubie, pis. ccclxxxii. 
3, 4, ccccxviii. bis, and vol. ii. pp. 339, 360 ; Kosellini, Monumenti civili, pl. xxxiii. ; Wilkinson, 
Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, 2nd edit., vol. ii. p. 93). 

6 On Hâthor, Lady of Pûanît, her importation into Egypt, and the bonds of kinship connecting 
her with Bîsû, see Pleyte, Chapitres supplémentaires du Livre des 3Iorts, p. 134, et seq. 



skin, but of strange countenance and alarming character, a big-headed 
dwarf with high cheek-bones, and a wide and open mouth, whence hung an 
enormous tongue ; he was at once jovial and martial, the friend of the dance 
and of battle. 1 In historic times all nations subjugated by the Pharaohs 
transferred some of their principal divinities to their conquerors, and the 
Libyan Shehadidi was enthroned in the valley of the Nile, in the same way as 
the Semitic Baâlû and his retinue of Astartes, Anitis, Eeshephs, and Kadshûs. 2 
These divine colonists fared like all foreigners who have sought to settle on 
the banks of the Nile : they were promptly assimilated, wrought, moulded, 
and made into Egyptian deities scarcely distinguishable from those of 


the old race. This mixed pantheon had its grades of nobles, princes, kings, 
and each of its members was representative of one of the elements con- 
stituting the world, or of one of the forces which regulated its government. 
The sky, the earth, the stars, the sun, the Nile, were so many breathing 
and thinking beings whose lives were daily mauifest in the life of the universe. 
They were worshipped from one end of the valley to the other, and the 
whole nation agreed in proclaiming their sovereign power. But when the 
people began to name them, to define their powers and attributes, to par- 
ticularize their forms, or the relationships that subsisted among them, 
this unanimity was at an end. Each principality, each nome, each city, 
almost every village, conceived aud represented them differently. Some 

1 Bîsû has been closely studied by Pleyte {Chapitres supplémentaires du Livre des Morts, Tra- 
duction et Commentaire, pp. 111-184), and by Kkaxl (Ueber den JEgyptischen Golt Bes, in Benndobf- 
Niemann's Das Heroon von Gjôïbaschi-Trysa, pp. 72-96). The tail-piece to the summary of this 
chapter is a figure of Bîsû, drawn by Faucher-Gudin from an amulet in blue enamelled pottery. 

2 The name of Shehadidi is found in that of a certain Peteshehadidi, whose statue has passed 
from the Posno collection {Antiquités Egyptiennes, 1883, p. 15, No. 57, pi. 2) into the Berlin Museum ; 
cf. the god Saharûaû in Maspeeo's Sur deux stèles récemment découvertes, in the Recueil, vol. xv. 
p. 85. The Semitic gods introduced into Egypt have been studied at length by M. de Voguij 
(Mélanges d'Archéologie Orientale, p. 41, et seq., 76, et seq.) and by Ed. Meter (Ueber einige Semi- 
tische Gotter, § ii., Semitische Gotter in Mgypten, in the Zeitschrift d. Deut. Morg. Gesellschaft, vol. 
xxxi. pp. 724-729). 

3 The hawk-headed monster with flower-tipped tail, represented in the illustration, was called 
the saga. 



said that the sky was the Great Horus, Haroêris, the sparrow-hawk of mottled 
plumage which hovers in highest air, and whose gaze embraces 
the whole field of creation. 1 Owing to a punning assonance 
between his name and the word horû, which designates the 
human countenance, the two senses were combined, and to 
the idea of the sparrow-hawk there was added that of a 
divine face, whose two eyes opened in turn, the right 
eye being the sun, to give light by day, and the left 
eye the moon, to illumine the night. 2 The face 
shone also with a light of its own, the zodiacal 
light, which appeared unexpectedly, morning or 
evening, a little before sunrise, and a little 
after sunset. These luminous beams, radiating 
from a common centre, hidden in the heights of 
the firmament, spread into a wide pyramidal sheet 
of liquid blue, whose base rested upon the earth, 
but whose apex was slightly inclined towards the 
zenith. 3 The divine face was symmetrically framed, 
and attached to earth by four thick locks of hair; 
these were the pillars which upbore the firmament 
and prevented its falling into ruin. 4 A no less 
ancient tradition disregarded as fabulous all tales told of 
the sparrow-hawk, or of the face, and taught that heaven 
and earth are wedded gods, Sibû and Nûît, from whose 
marriage come forth all that has been, all that is, and all 
that shall be. Most people invested them with human 
form, and represented the earth-god Sibû as extended 
beneath Nûît the Starry One; the goddess stretched out 
her arms, stretched out her slender legs, stretched out her 
body above the clouds, and her dishevelled head drooped 
westward. But there were also many who believed that Sibû 

1 It is generally admitted that Haroêris is Kâ, the sun (Beugsch, Religion und Mythologie der alien 
Mgypler, p. 529, et seq.). Haroêris was worshipped in Upper Egypt, where he and his fellow, Sit of 
Ombos, represented the heavens and the earth (Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie, vol. ii. 
p. 329, et seq.). They were often depicted as a two-headed personage (Lepsius, Denkm., iii. 234 b). 

2 E. Lefébuiîe, Les Yeux d'Sorus, pp. 96-98. The part played by the two eyes of the celestial 
Horus, irîti, ûzaîti, was first recognized by Brugsch, Geographische Inschriften, vol. i. p. 75. 

3 Brtjgsch, A ou la lumière zodiacale, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archseology, 
1892-93, vol. xv. p. 233, et seq. ; Hermann Gruson, Im Beiche des Lichtes, Sonnen, Zodiakallichter, 
Kometen, Dammerungslicht-Pyramiden nach den dltesten segyptischen Quellen, 1893. 

* These locks, and the gods presiding over them, are mentioned in the Pyramid texts (Papi I., 
lines 436-440, Mirinri, lines 649-656; cf. Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie, vol. ii. 
pp. 366, 367). 

5 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a painted coffin of the XXI st dynasty in Leyden. 

ONE. s 



was concealed under the form of a colossal gander, whose mate once laid the 
Sun Egg, and perhaps still laid it daily. From the piercing cries where- 
with he congratulated her, and announced the good news to all who cared 

to hear it — after the manner of his kind 

received the 

flattering , ^f^" „ j^^S. ' epithet of 


oîrû, the 


Great Cackler. 2 Other versions repudiated the goose in favour of a vigorous 
bull, the father of gods and men, 3 whose companion was a cow, a large-eyed 
Hâthor, of beautiful countenance. The head of the good beast rises into the 
heavens, the mysterious waters which cover the world flow along her spine ; 
the star-covered underside of her body, which we call the firmament, is 
visible to the inhabitants of earth, and her four legs are the four pillars 
standing at the four cardinal points of the world. 4 

The planets, and especially the sun, varied in form and nature according 
to the prevailing conception of the heavens. The fiery disk Atonû, by which 
the sun revealed himself to men, was a living god, called Eâ, as was also the 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a stela in the museum of Gîzeh (Grkbact, Le Musée Egyptien, 
pl. iii.). This is not the goose of Sibû, but the goose of Amon, which was nurtured in the temple 
of Karnak, and was called Smonû. Facing it is the cat of Maut, the wife of Amou. Amon, 
originally an earth-god, was, as we see, confounded with Sibû, and thus naturally appropriated that 
deity's form of a goose. 

2 Book of the Dead, ch. liv., Navili.e's edition, vol. i. pl. lxvi. ; cf. Lepage-Renouf, Seb the great 
Cackler, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, vol. vii. pp. 152-154. On the egg 
of Sibû, and as to Egyptian ideas in general concerning the egg, see Lefébure {l'Œuf dans la Reli- 
gion Egyptienne, in the Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, vol. xvi. pp. 16-25). On the other hand, 
several Egyptologists (Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie, pp. 171-173 ; Liebleiv, Proceedings, 1884-85, 
pp. 99, 100) consider that the sign of the goose, currently used for writing the god's name, itself gave 
birth to the myth ascribing to him a goose's form. 

3 Hence he is called the bull of Nûît in the Pyramid text of Unas (1. 452). 

* See it as represented in Lefébure, Le Tombeau de Se'ti I er , in the Mémoires de la Mission, vol. ii 
pt. 4, pl. xvii. 



planet itself. 1 Where the sky was regarded as Horus, Râ formed the right eye 

of the divine face: 2 when Horus opened 
his eyelids in the morning, he made 
the dawn and day ; when he closed 
them in the evening, the dusk and 
night were at hand. Where the sky 
was looked upon as the incarnation of a 
goddess, Râ was considered as her son, 3 
his father being the earth-god, and he 
was born again with every new dawn, 
wearing a sidelock, and with his finger 
to his lips as human children were con- 
ventionally represented. He was also 
that luminous egg, laid and hatched in 
the East by the celestial goose, from 
which the sun breaks forth to fill 
the world with its rays. 4 Neverthe- 
less, by an anomaly not uncommon 
in religions, the egg did not always 
contain the same kind of bird ; a 
lapwing, or a heron, might come out of 
the cow hâthoe, the lady of heaven. 4 or perhaps, in memory of Horus, 

1 The name of Eà has been variously explained. The commonest etymology is that deriving the- 
name from a verb RÂ, to give, to make to be a person or a thing, so that Eâ would thus be the great 
organizer (Birch, in Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. p. 214), the author of all 
tilings (Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie, pp. 86, 87). Lauth (Aus Mgyptens Vorzeit, pp. 46, 68) goes 
so far as to say that " notwithstanding its brevity, Eâ is a composite word (r-a, maker — to be)." As 
a matter of fact, the word is simply the name of the planet applied to the god. It means the sun, and 
nothing more. 

2 The Edfû texts mention the face of Horus furnished with its two eyes (Naville, Textes relatifs 
au mythe d' Horus, pl. xxii. 1. 1). As for the identification of the right eye of the god with the sun, 
cf. the unimpeachable evidence collected by Chabas {Lettre à M. le Dr. R. Lepsius sur les mots égyptiens 
signifiant la droite et la gauche, in the Zeitschrift, 1865, p. 10), and by Lepsius {An Herrn F. Chabas, 
iiber rechts und liuks ira Hieroglyphisehen, in the Zeitschrift, 1865, p. 13). 

3 Several passages from the Pyramid texts prove that the tico eyes were very anciently considered 
as belonging to the face of Nûît {Papi I., 1. 100), and this conception persisted to the last days of 
Egyptian paganism. Hence, we must not be surprised if the inscriptions generally represent the god 
Eâ as coming forth from Nûît under the form of a disc, or a scarabaeus, and born of her even as 
human children are born (Papi I., lines 10, 32, 60, etc.). 

4 These are the very expressions used in the seventeenth chapter of the Booh of the Dead 
(Naville's edition, vol. i. pi. xxv. lines 58-61 ; Lepsics, Todtenbuch, pi. ix. 11. 50, 51). 

5 Drawn by Boudier, from a XXX th -dynasty statue of green basalt in the Gîzeh Museum 
(Maspero, Guide du Visiteur, p. 345, No. 5243). The statue was also published by Mariette, Monu- 
ments divers, pi. 96 A-B, and in the Album photographique du Musée de Boulaq, pl. x. 

c The lapwing or the heron, the Egyptian bonû, is generally the Osirian bird. The persistence 
with which it is associated with Heliopolis and the gods of that city 6hows that in this also we have 
a secondary form of Eâ. Cf. the form taken by the sun during the third hour of the day, as given in 
the text published and explained by Brugsch, Die Kapilel der Verwandlungen {Zeitschrift, 1867, p. 23). 


one of the beautiful golden sparrow-hawks of Southern Egvpt. 1 A Sun- 
Hawk, hovering in high heaven on outspread wings, at least presented 
a bold and poetic image; but what can be said for a Sun-Calf? Yet it is 
under the innocent aspect of a spotted calf, a " sucking calf of pure mouth," 2 


that the Egyptians were pleased to describe the Sun-God when Sibu, the father, 
was a bull, and Hâthor a heifer. But the prevalent conception was that in 
which the life of the sun was likened to the life of man. The two deities 
presiding over the East received the orb upon their hands at its birth, just as 
midwives receive a new-born child, and cared for it during the first hour of 
the day and of its life. 4 It soon left them, and proceeded " under the belly 

1 Book of the Dead, ch. Ixxvii. (Naville's edition, pl. lxxxviii. 1. 2, et seq.), and ch. lxxviii. (pi. 
lxxxix.); cf. the forms of the sun during the third and eighth hours of the day, as given in the text 
published and explained by Brugsch, Die Kapitel der Verwandlungen (Zeitschrift, 1867, pp. 23, 24). 

2 The calf is represented iu ch. cix. of the Book of the Dead (Naville's edition, pi. cxx.), where 
the text says (lines 10, 11), "I know that this calf is Harmakhis the Sun, and that it is no other than 
the Morning Star, daily saluting Râ." The expression " sucking calf of pure mouth " is taken word 
for word from a formula preserved in the Pyramid texts (Ûnas, 1. 20). 

3 The twelve forms of the sun during the twelve hours of the day, from the ceiling of the Hall 
of the New Year at Edfû (Rochemonteix, Edfou, pi. xxxiii. c). Drawing by Faucher-Gudin. 

4 The birth of the sun was represented in detail at Erment (Champollion, Monuments, pi. cxlv. ; 
Rosellini, Monumenti del Culto, pis. lii., liii., and Texte, p. 293, et seq.; Lepsius, Denkm., iv. 



of Nûît," growing and strengthening from minute to minute, until at noon it had 
become a triumphant hero whose splendour is shed abroad over all. But as 
night comes on his strength forsakes him and his glory is obscured ; he is bent 
and broken down, and heavily drags himself along like an old man leaning 
upon his stick. 1 At length he passes away beyond the horizon, plunging 
westward into the mouth of Nûît, and traversing her body by night to be born 
anew the next morning, again to follow the paths along which he had travelled 
on the preceding day. 2 

A first bark, the saktît, 3 awaited him at his birth, and carried him from 
the Eastern to the Southern extremity of the world. Mâzît, 4 the second bark, 
received him at noon, and bore him into the land of Manû, which is at 
the entrance into Hades ; other barks, with which we are less familiar, con- 
veyed him by night, from his setting until his rising at morn. 5 Sometimes 
he was supposed to enter the barks alone, and then they were magic and 
self-directed, having neither oars, nor sails, nor helm. 6 Sometimes they were 
equipped with a full crew, like that of an Egyptian boat — a pilot at the 
prow to take soundings in the channel and forecast the wind, a pilot astern 
to steer, a quartermaster in the midst to transmit the orders of the pilot 
at the prow to the pilot at the stern, and half a dozen sailors to handle 
poles or oars. 7 Peacefully the bark glided along the celestial river amid the 
acclamations of the gods who dwelt upon its shores. But, occasionally, Apôpi, 
a gigantic serpent, like that which hides within the earthly Nile and devours 
its banks, came forth from the depth of the waters and arose in the path of 
the god. 8 As soon as they caught sight of it in the distance, the crew flew to 

pi. 60, a, c, d), and in a more abridged form on the sarcophagus of one of the rams of Mendes, 
now in the Gîzeh Museum (Mariette, Monuments divers, pi. lxvi., and Texte, pp. 13, 14). 

1 The growth and decadence of the forms of the sun are clearly marked in the scene firat pub- 
lished by Bbdgsch (Die Kapitel der Verwandlungen, in the Zeitschrift, 1867, pp. 21-26, and plate; 
TJiesaurus Inscriptionum JEgyptiacarum, pp. 55-59), taken from the coffin of Khâf in the Gîzeh 
Museum ; and from two scenes, of which the one is at Denderah (Description de l'Egypte, Ant., vol. iv. 
pis. 16-19), the other in the Hall of the New Year at Edfu (Champollion, Monuments, pl. cxxiii., et 
seq. ; Eochemonteix, Edfou, in the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire, vol. ix. pl. xxxiii. c). 

2 Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 218, note 2. 

3 Its most ancient name was Samktît (Teta, 1. 222 ; Tapi I., 11. 570, 670, etc.). Brugsch (Diction- 
naire Hiéroglyphique, pp. 1327, 1328) first determined the precedence of the Saktît and Mâzît boats. 

4 In the oldest texts it is Mânzît, with an interpolated nasal (Teta, 11. 222, 223, 344, etc.). 

6 In the formulae of the Book of Knowing that which is in Hades, the dead sun remains in the 
bark Saktît during part of the night, and it is only to traverse the fourth and filth hours that he 
changes into another (Maspero, Eludes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 69, et seq.). 

6 Such is the bark of the sun in the other world. Although carrying a complete crew of gods, 
yet for the most part it progresses at its own will, and without their help. The bark containing the 
sun alone is represented in many vignettes of the Book of the Dead (Naville's edition, pl. xxx., La, 
Ag, pl. cxiii., Te, cxxxiii., Ta, cxlv.), and at the head of many stelas. 

7 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 38, 39. 

8 In Upper Egypt there is a widespread belief in the existence of a monstrous serpent, who 
dwells at the bottom of the river, and is the genius of the Nile. It is he who brings about those falls 
of earth (batabît) at the decline of the inundation which often destroy the banks and eat whole 
fields. At such times, offerings of durrah, fowls, and dates are made to him, that his hunger may be 


arms, and entered upon the struggle against him with prayers and spear-thrusts. 
Men in their cities saw the sun faint and fail, and sought to succour him in 
his distress; they cried aloud, they were beside themselves with excitement, 
beating their breasts, sounding their instruments of music, and striking with 
all their strength upon every metal vase or utensil in their possession, that 
their clamour might rise to heaven and terrify the monster. After a time 
of anguish, Eâ emerged from the darkness and again went on his way, while 
Apôpi sank back into the abyss, 1 paralysed by the magic of the gods, and 
pierced with many a wound. Apart from these temporary eclipses, which 
no one could foretell, the Sun-King steadily followed his course round the 
world, according to laws which even his will could not change. Day after day 
he made his oblique ascent from east to south, thence to descend obliquely 
towards the west. During the summer months the obliquity of his course- 
diminished, and he came closer to Egypt; during the winter it increased, and 
he went farther away. This double movement recurred with such regularity 
from equinox to solstice, and from solstice to equinox, that the day of the 
god's departure and the day of his return could be confidently predicted. 
The Egyptians explained this phenomenon according to their conceptions of 
the nature of the world. The solar bark always kept close to that bank of 
the celestial river which, was nearest to men ; and when the river overflowed 
at the annual inundation, the sun was carried along with it outside the 
regular bed of the stream, and brought yet closer to Egypt. As the inun- 
dation abated, the bark descended and receded, its greatest distance from earth 
corresponding with the lowest level of the waters. It was again brought 
back to us by the rising strength of the next flood ; and, as this phenomenon 
was yearly repeated, the periodicity of the sun's oblique movements was regarded 
as the necessary consequence of the periodic movements of the celestial Nile. 2 

appeased, and it is not only the natives who give themselves up to these superstitious practices. Part 
of the grounds belonging to the Karnak hotel at Luxor having been carried away during the autumn 
of 1884, the manager, a Greek, made the customary offerings to the serpent of the Nile (Maspeko, 
Etudes de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 412, 413). 

1 The character of Apôpi and of his struggle with the sun was, from the first, excellently defined 
by Champollion as representing the conflict of darkness with light {Lettres écrites d' Egypte, 2nd edit., 
1833, p. 231, et seq.). Occasionally, but very rarely, Apôpi seems to win, and his triumph over Eâ 
furnishes one explanation of a solar eclipse (Lefiîbure, Les Yeux d'Horus, p. 46, et seq. ; Lepage- 
Renocf, The Eclipse in Egyptian Texts, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, 
1884-85, vol. viii. p. 163, et seq.). A similar explanation is common to many races (cf. E. Tti.or, 
Primitive Culture,vo\. i. p. 297, et seq.). In one very ancient form of the Egyptian legend, the sun is 
represented by a wild ass running round the world along the sides of the mountains that uphold the 
sky, and the serpent which attacks it is called Haiû {Unas, 11. 544, 545 ; Book of the Dead, eh. xl., 
Naville's edition, vol. i. pi. liv.). 

2 This explanation of Egyptian beliefs concerning the oblique course of the sun was proposed 
by Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 208-210. It is no more 
strange nor yet more puerile than most of the explanations of the same phenomenon advanced by 
Greek cosmographers (Letronne, Opinions populaires et scientifiques des Grecs sur la route oblique du 
soleil, in his Œuvres choisies, 2nd series, vol. i. pp. 336-359). 



The same stream also carried a whole crowd of gods, whose existence was 
revealed at night only to the inhabitants of earth. At an interval of twelve 
hours, and in its own bark, the pale disk of the moon — Yâûhû Aiïhîi — followed 
the disk of the sun along the ramparts of the world. 1 The moon, also, 
appeared in many various forms — here, as a man born of Nûît ; 2 there, as a 
cynocephalus or an ibis ; 3 elsewhere, it was the left eye of Horus, 4 guarded by 
the ibis or cynocephalus. Like Kâ, it had its enemies incessantly upon the 


watch for it : the crocodile, the hippopotamus, and the sow. But it was when at 
the full, about the 15th of each month, that the lunar eye was in greatest peril. 
The sow fell upon it, tore it out of the face of heaven, and cast it, streaming with 
blood and tears, into the celestial Nile, 6 where it was gradually extinguished, 

1 The lunar Thot is represented on the heads of stelae as alone within his hark, either in the form 
of the lunar disk, or seated, as an ibis-headed man (Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia Egizia, pis. 
xxxviL, xxxviii.). We also read in De Iside (ch. xxxiv., Parthey's edition, p. 58), "H\tov 5è xal 
~2,ç\t)vt)v ovx apfiairiv àwà ttAo/ou bxoH- a(TL xP a> l JL ^ V0VS irtpiirKftv àel. The most striking examples are 
to be found in the astronomic ceilings of Esneh and Denderah, often reproduced since their 
publication at the beginning of the century in the Description de V Egypte, Ant, vol. i. pi. lxxix. ; 
vol. iv. pi. xviii.). 

2 He may be seen as a child, or man, bearing the lunar disk upon his head, and pressing the lunar 
eye to his breast (Lanzone, Dizionario, pi. xxxvi. 2, 4 ; Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., 
vol. iii. pi. xxxvi. 3, and p. 170, No. 54). Passages from the Pyramid text of Ûnas (lines 236, 24 0-252) 
indicate the relationship subsisting between Thot, Slbû, and Nûît, making Thot the brother of 
Isis, Sit, and Nephthys. In later times he was considered a son of Eâ (Brtjgsch, Beligion und 
Mythologie, p. 445). 

3 Even as late as the Grseco-Koman period, the temple of Thot at Khmûnû contained a sacred ibis, 
which was the incarnation of the god, and said to be immortal by the local priesthood. The temple 
sacristans showed it to Apion the grammarian, who reports the fact, but is very sceptical in the matter 
(Apion Oasita, frag. 11, in Muller-Didot, Fragmenta historicorum grxcorum, vol. iii. p. 512). See the 
drawing of tbe cynocephalous Thot in Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. pi. xxxvi. 4. 

4 The texts quoted by Chabas and Lepsius (p. 88, note 2) to show that the sun is the right eye of 
Horus also prove that his left eye is the moon. 

5 Drawn by Fauchor-Gudin, from the ceiling of the Eamesscum. On the right, the female 
hippopotamus bearing the crocodile, and leaning on the Monâit; in the middle, the Haunch, here 
represented by the whole bull ; to the left, Selkit and the Sparrow-hawk, with the Lion, and the Giant 
fighting the Crocodile. 

u These facts are set forth briefly, but clearly enough, in chs. cxii. and cxiii. of the Book of the 



and lost for days; but its twin, the sun, or its guardian, the cynocephalus, 
immediately set forth to find it and to restore it to Horus. No sooner was it 
replaced, than it slowly recovered, and renewed its radiance ; when it was 
well — ûzaît 1 — the sow again attacked and mutilated it, and the gods rescued 
and again revived it. Each month there M'as a fortnight of youth and 
of growing splendour, followed by a fortnight's agony and ever-increasing 


pallor. It was born to die, and died to be born again twelve times in the 

year, and each of these cycles measured a month for the inhabitants of the 

world. One invariable accident from time to time disturbed the routine of 

its existence. Profiting by some distraction of the guardians, the sow greedily 

swallowed it, and then its light went out suddenly, instead of fading gradually. 

These eclipses, which alarmed mankind at least as much as did those of the 

sun, were scarcely more than momentary, the gods compelling the monster 

to cast up the eye before it had been destroyed. 2 Every evening the lunar 

bark issued out of Hades by the door which Eâ had passed through in 

the morning, and as it rose on the horizon, the star-lamps scattered over the 

firmament appeared one by one, giving light here and there like the camp-fires 

Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. cxxiv., cxxv. ; Lepsius' editiou, pi. xliii.). Goodwin (On the 
112th Chapter of the Ritual, in the Zeilschrift, 1871, pp. 144-147) pointed out the importance of these 
chapters, but their complete explanation came later, and was given by Lefébure in the first part of 
his work on the Mythe Osirien; I. les Yeux à" Horus. 

1 The exact sense of this expression is pointed out ou p. 54, note 4. 

2 Cf. the work of Lefébure, Les Yeux d' Horus, p. 43, et seq., for the explanation of this little drama 



of a distant army. However many of them there might be, there were as 
many Indestructibles — Akhîmû Sokû — or Unchanging Ones — Akhîmû Ûrdû— 
whose charge it was to attend upon them and watch over their maintenance. 1 
They were not scattered at random by the hand which had suspended them, 

but their distribution 
had been ordered in 
accordance with a cer- 
tain plan, and they were 
arranged in fixed groups 
like so many star repub- 
lics, each being indepen- 
dent of its neighbours. 
They represented the 
outlines of bodies of 
men and animals dimly traced out upon the depths of night, but shining with 
greater brilliancy in certain important places. The seven stars which we liken 
to a chariot (Charles's Wain) suggested to the Egyptians the haunch of 
an ox placed on the northern edge of the horizon. 3 Two lesser stars con- 
nected the haunch — Maskhaît — with thirteen others, which recalled the 
silhouette of a female hippopotamus — JRirit — erect upon her hind legs, 4 and 

1 The Akhîmû-Sohû and the Ahhhnâ-Ûrdû have been very variously defined by different 
Egyptologists who have studied them. Chabas {Hymne à Osiris, in the Revue Archéologique, 1st 
series, vol. xiv. p. 71, note 1, and Le Papyrus magique Harris, pp. 82-84) considered them to be gods 
or genii of the constellations of the ecliptic, which mark the apparent course of the sun through the 
sky. Following the indications given by Déve'ria, he also thought them to be the sailors of the solar 
bark, and perhaps the gods of the twelve hours, divided into two classes: the Alchîmû-Sokû being 
those who are rowing, and the Alchîmû-tfrdû those who are resting. But texts found and cited by 
Brugsch (Thesaurus Inscriptionum JEgyptiacarum, pp. 40-42; Die Mgyptologie, p. 321, et seq.) show 
that the Akhîmû-Sokû are the planets accompanying Râ in the northern sky, while the Akhîmû- 
Urdû are his escort in the south. The nomenclature of the stars included in these two classes is 
furnished by monuments of widely different epochs (Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum Mgyptiacarum, 
p. 79, et seq.). The two names should be translated according to the meaning of their component 
words: Akhîmû Solcû, those who know not destruction, the Indestructibles; and Alchimû Ûrdû (Ûrzû), 
those who know not the immobility of death, the Imperishables. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the rectangular zodiac carved upon the ceiling of the great 
temple of Denderah (Dumichen, Resultate, vol. ii. pi. xxxix.). 

3 The forms of the constellations, and the number of stars composing them in the astronomy 
of different periods, are known from the astronomical scenes of tombs and temples. The identity 
of the Haunch with the Chariot, or Great Bear of modern astronomy, was discovered by Lepsius 
(Einleitung zur Chronologie der JEgypter, p. 184) and confirmed by Biot (Sur les restes de l'ancienne 
Uranographie égyptienne que l'on pourrait retrouver aujourd'hui chez les Arabes qui habitent l'intérieur 
de l'Égypte, p. 51, et seq., in the Journal des Savants, 1854). Mariette pointed out that the 
Pyramid Arabs applied the name of the Haunch (er-Rigl) to the same group of stars as that thus 
designated by the ancient Egyptians (cf. Brugsch, Die JEgyptologie, p. 343). Champollion had noted 
the position of the Haunch in the northern sky (Dictionnaire hiéroglyphique, p. 355), but had not 
suggested any identification. The Haunch appertained to Sît-Typhon (De Iside et Osiride), § 21, 
Parthey's edition, p. 36). 

4 The connection of Ririt, the female hippopotamus, with the Haunch is made quite clear 
in scenes from Phil® and Edfû (Brugsch, Thesaurus, pp. 126, 127), representing Isis holding 
back Typhon by a chain, that he might do no hurt to Sâhû-Osiris (ibid., p. 122). Jollois and 



jauntily carrying upon her shoulders a monstrous crocodile whose jaws opened 
threateningly above her head. Eighteen luminaries of varying size and 
splendour, forming a group hard by the hippopotamus, indicated the outline 
of a gigantic lion couchant, with stiffened tail, its head turned to the right, 
and facing the Haunch. 1 Most of the constellations never left the sky : 

night after night they were to be found almost in the same places, 
and always shining with the same even light. Others borne by a 
slow movement passed annually beyond the limits of sight for months 
at a time. Five at least of our planets were known from all anti- 
quity, and their characteristic colours and appearances carefully noted. 


Sometimes each was thought to be a hawk-headed Horus. Uapshetatûi, 
our Jupiter, Kahiri-(Saturn), Sobkû-( Mercury), steered their barks straight 

Devilliers (Recherches sur les bas-reliefs astronomiques des Egyptiens, in the Description de l'Egypte, 
vol. viii. p. 451) thought that the hippopotamus was the Great Bear, Biot (Recherches sur plusieurs 
points de l'astronomie égyptienne, pp. 87-91) contested their conclusions, and while holding that the 
hippopotamus might at least in part present our constellation of the Dragon, thought that it was 
probably included in the scene only as an ornament, or as an emblem (cf. Sur les restes de l'ancienne 
uranographie égyptienne, p. 56). The present tendency is to identify the hippopotamus with the 
Dragon and with certain stars not included in the constellations surrounding it (Brugsch, Die 
JEgyptologie, p. 343). 

1 The Lion, with its eighteen stars, is represented on the tomb of Seti I. (Lefkbure, Le Tombeau 
de Seti I er , 4th part, pi. xxxvi., in the Mémoires de la Mission française, vol. ii.); on the ceiling of the 
Itamesseum (Burton, Excerpta Hieroglyphica, pi. lviii. ; Rosellini, Monumenti del Culto, pi. lxxii. ; 
Lepsius, Denhmdler, iii. 170) ; and on the sarcophagus of Htari (Brugsch, Recueil de monuments, vol. i. 
pi. xvii.). The Lion is sometimes shown as having a crocodile's tail. According to Biot (Sur un 
calendrier astronomique et astrologique trouve' a Thèbes en Egypte, pp. 102-111) the Egyptian Lion has 
nothing in common with the Greek constellation of that name, nor yet with our own, but was com- 
posed of smaller stars, belonging to the Greek constellation of the Cup or to the continuation of the 
Hydra, eo that its head, its body, and its tail would follow the o of the Hydra, between the <p' and f of 
that constellation, or the y of the Virgin. 

2 From the astronomic ceiling in the tomb of Seti I. (Lefebure, 4th part, pi. xxxvi.). 



ahead like Iâûhû and Eâ ; but Mars-Doshiri, the red, sailed backwards. 
As a star, Bonû the bird (Venus) had a dual personality ; 1 in the evening it 
was Ûati, the lonely star which is the first to rise, often before night- 
fall ; in the morning it became Tiû-nûtiri, the god who 
hails the sun before his rising and proclaims the dawn of 
day. 2 

Sahû and Sopdît, Orion and Sirius, were the rulers of 
this mysterious world. Sahû consisted of fifteen stars, seven 
large and eight small, so arranged as to represent a runner 
darting through space, while the fairest of them shone above 
his head, and marked him out from afar to the admiration 
of mortals. With his right hand he flourished the crux 
ansata, and turning his head towards Sothis as he beckoned 
her on with his left, seemed as though inviting her to 
follow him. The goddess, standing sceptre in hand, and 
crowned with a diadem of tall feathers surmounted by her 
most radiant star, answered the call of Sahû with a gesture, 
and quietly embarked in pursuit as though in no anxiety 
to overtake him. 3 Sometimes she is represented as a 
cow lying down in her bark, with three stars along her 
back, and Sirius flaming from between her horns. 5 Not 
content to shine by night only, her bluish rays, suddenly 
darted forth in full daylight and without any warning, 
often described upon the sky the mystic lines of the 

1 The personages representing the five planets known to the ancient Egyptians were first 
recognized by Lepsids (Einleitung zur Chronologie der JEgypter, p. 84, et seq.). Their names were 
afterwards partly determined by Beugsch (Nouvelles Becherches sur les divisions de Vannée cliez les 
anciens Egyptiens suivies d'un mémoire sur des observations planétaires, p. 140, et seq.), and finally 
settled by E. de Bougé (Note sur les noms égyptiens des planètes, in the Bulletin archéologique de 
VAthenxum français, vol. ii. pp. 18-21, 25-28). 

2 The connection between tfâti and Tiû-nûtiri, between the Evening and the Morning Star, was 
first noted by Beugsch (Thesaurus Inscriptionum, p. 72, et seq., and Die JEgyptologie, pp. 332-337). 

3 It is thus that Sahû and Sopdît are represented in the Kamesseum (Bubton, Excerpta, pi. lviii. ; 
Kosellini, Monumenti del Culto, pi. lxxi. ; Lepsius, Denk., iii. 170), in the tomb of Seti I. (Lefébube, 
Le Tombeau de Séti T r , part 4, pl. xxxvi., in the Mémoires de la Mission française, vol. ii.), and, with 
slight variations, upon other monuments (Beugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum, p. 80). Champollion, 
who had recognized Orion in the astronomic scene at Denderah, read his name as Keslces, or Kos, on 
what authority I do not know (Grammaire Égyptienne, p. 95). Lepsius (Einleitung zur Chronologie, 
p. 77) proposed that it should be read Selc, and E. de Kougé found the true reading — Sâhû (Mémoire 
sur l'inscription d'Ahmès, p. 88, et seq ). In the same way, Champollion transcribed the name of 
Sothis by Thot, Tet, without being under any misapprehension as to the identity of that goddess 
(Grammaire Egyptienne, p. 96 ; Mémoire sur les signes employés par les anciens Égyptiens à la notation 
des divisions du temps, p. 38); Lepsius was the first to decipher it correctly (Einleitung zur Chro- 
nologie, pp. 135, 136). 

4 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a small bronze in the Gizeh Museum, published by Maeiette, 
in the Album photographique du Musée de Boulaq, pl. 9. The legs are a modern restoration. 

5 The identity of the cow with Sothis was discovered by Jollois and Devilliees (Sur les las- 



triangle which stood for her name. It was then that she produced those 
curious phenomena of the zodiacal light which other legends attributed to 
Horus himself. 1 One, and perhaps the most ancient of the innumerable 
accounts of this god and goddess, represented Sahû as a wild hunter. 2 A 
world as vast as ours rested upon the other side of the iron firmament ; like 
ours, it was distributed into seas, and continents divided by rivers and canals, 
but peopled by races unknown to men. Sahû traversed it during the day, 
surrounded by genii who presided over the lamps forming his constellation. 


At his appearing " the stars prepared themselves for battle, the heavenly 
archers rushed forward, the bones of the gods upon the horizon trembled at the 
sight of him," for it was no common game that he hunted, but the very gods 
themselves. One attendant secured the prey with a lasso, as bulls are caught 
in the pastures, while another examined each capture to decide if it were 
pure and good for food. This being determined, others bound the divine 
victim, cut its throat, disembowelled it, cut up its carcass, cast the joints into 
a pot, and superintended their cooking. Sahû did not devour indifferently 
all that the fortune of the chase might bring him, but classified his game in 

reliefs astronomiques, in the Description de VÉgyple, vol. viii. pp. 464, 465). It is under this animal 
form that Sothis is represented in most of the Gra3co-Roman temples, at Deuderah, Edfû, Esneh, 
Dêr el-Medîneh (Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum JEgyptiacarum, pp. 80-82). 

1 Bruqsch, a ou la lumière zodiacale, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 
1892-93, vol. xv. p. 233 ; and in Hermann Gruson, Im Reiche des Lichtes, 1st edit., pp. 126, 127. 

2 For this legend, see Unas, lines 496-525; and Teti, lines 318-331. Its meaning was pointed out 
by Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 156; vol. ii. p. 18, et seq., 
pp. 231, 232. 

3 Scene from the rectangular zodiac of Denderah, drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph 
taken with magnesium light by Dumichen, Resultate, pi. xxxvi. 




accordance with his wants. He ate the great gods at his breakfast in the 

noon, and the small ones at 
his supper; the old were 
rendered more tender by 
roasting. As each god 
was assimilated by him, its 
most precious virtues were 
transfused into himself; by 
the wisdom of the old was 
his wisdom strengthened, the 
youth of the young repaired 
the daily waste of his own 
youth, and all their fires, 
as they penetrated his being, 
served to maintain the per- 
petual splendour of his light. 

The nome gods who pre- 
sided over the destinies of 
Egyptian cities, and formed 
a true feudal system of 
divinities, belonged to one 
do they present themselves 
under the most shifting aspects and the most deceptive attributes ; in vain 
disguise themselves with the utmost care ; a closer examination generally 
discloses the principal features of their original physiognomies. Osiris of the 
Delta, 3 Khnûmû of the Cataract, 4 Harshâfitû of Heracleopolis, 5 were each of 

1 Scene on the north wall of the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak; drawn by Boudier, from a photograph 
by Insinger, taken in 1882. The king, Seti I., is presenting bouquets of leaves to Amon-Mînû. 
Behind the god stands Isis (of Coptos), sceptre and crux ansata in hand. 

2 Champollion had already very clearly recognized this primordial character of the Egyptian 
religion. "These gods," said he, "had in a manner divided Egypt and Nubia among themselves, 
thus making a kind of feudal subdivision of the land " {Lettres écrites d'Égijpte, 2nd edit., 1833, 
p. 157). 

3 The identity of Osiris and the Nile was well known to the classic writers : oi Sè o-otpûrepoi rûv 
Upiav où ixôvov rbv NeiKov "Offiptv tcaAovaiv, . . . à\\à "Oaipiv jxkv Ô7r\cDï anaaav tv/v vypoiroiov àpxhv 
Kal Svvafiiv, alriav yevéaews Kai airépixaros ovalav vo/x'i^ovt^s . . . rbv hi J Oaipiv av iraXiv /xe\dyxpovv 
yeyovévai fxv6o\oyovo-iv {De Iside et Oriside, § xxxiii., Paethey's edition, p. 57 ; cf. § xxxiii. p. 54). 
That was indeed his original character, afterwards amplified, and partially obscured by the various 
attributes ascribed to liim when confounded with other gods. 

4 For an analysis of the rôle attributed to the god Khnûmû of the cataract, and for his identity 
with the Nile, see Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 273, 
et seq. 

5 The position of the god Harshâfitû, of Heracleopolis Magna, has not yet been studied as it should 
be. Brugsch (Religion und Mythologie, pp. 303-308) regards him as a duplication of Khnûmû, and 
this is the most commonly received opinion. My own researches have led me to consider him a 
Nile-god, like all the ram-headed gods. 

morning, the lesser gods at his dinner towards 


or other of these natural categories. 2 In vain 



them incarnations of the fertilizing and life-sustaining Nile. Wheiever 
there is some important change in the river, there they are more 
especially installed and worshipped : Khnûmû at the place of 
its entering into Egypt, and again at the town of Hâûrît, near 
the point where a great arm branches off from the Eastern stream 
to flow towards the Libyan hills and form the Bahr-Yûsuf : Har- 
shâfitû at the gorges of the Fayûm, where the Bahr- 
Yûsuf leaves the valley ; and, finally, Osiris at Mendes 
and at Busiris, towards the mouth of the middle 
branch, which was held to be the true Nile by the 
people of the land. 1 Isis of Bûto denoted the black 
vegetable mould of the valley, the distinctive soil of 
Egypt annually covered and fertilized by the inundation. 2 But 
the earth in general, as distinguished from the sky — the earth 
with its continents, its seas, its alternation of barren deserts 
and fertile lands — was represented as a man : Phtah at Memphis, 8 
Amon at ïhebes, Mînû at Coptos and at Panopolis. 1 Araoti 
seems rather to have symbolized the productive soil, whihf 
Mînû reigned over the desert. But these were fine distinctions, 
not invariably insisted upon, and his worshippers often invested 
Amon with the most significant attributes of Mînû. The Sky- 
gods, like the Earth-gods, were separated into two groups, 
the one consisting of women : Hâthor of Denderah, or Nit 
of Sais ; the other composed of men identical with Horus, 
or derived from him : Anhûri-Shû 6 of Sebennytos and 
Thinis ; Harmerati, Horus of the two eyes, at Pharbœthos ; 7 
Har-Sapdi, Horus the source of the zodiacal light, in the Wâdy Tumilât; 8 

1 Maspero, Études de Mythologie el d' Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 333. 

* Evon in the Greek period, tlio soil is sometimes Isis herself (De Iside et Osiride, § xxxviii., 
Parthey's edition, p. 54, § lvii. p. 102), and sometimes the body of Isis : "l<n5os o-w/xa yrjv éxovai koI 
i/oh'iÇov<tii', où irâ<rav à\K' rjs à titîkos ém$alvei (mfpfnaivoov ko! nryvvLievos' (K Se rîjs o-vvova'ias ravrris 
yevvwert rov T npov (ibid., § xxxviii. pp. 56-G8). In the case of Isis, as in that of Osiris, we must mark 
the original character; and note her characteristics as goddess of the Delta before she had become 
a multiple and contradictory personality through being confounded with other divinities. 

3 The nature of Phtah is revealed in the processes of creation and in the various surnames, Tonen, 
To-tiii-nen, by which some of his most ancient forms were known at Memphis (Bkugsch, Religion und 
Mythologie, pp. 509-511 ; Wiedemann, Die Religion der alien JEgypter, pp. 74, 75). 

* Amon and his neighbour Mînû of Coptos nre in fact both itliyphallic, and occasionally mummies. 
Each wears the mortar head-dress surmounted by two long plumes. 

5 Drawn by Faucher-Gudiu, from a bronze of the Saïte period, in my own possession. 

6 For the duality of Anhûri-Shû and his primitive nature as a combination of Sky-god and 
Earth-god, see Maspeho, Etudes de Mythologie et oV Arché tlogie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 332, 356, 357. 

7 Bkugsch, Religion und Mythologie der alten Mgypter, p. 6G7 ; Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia 
Egizia, pp. 616-619. 

8 Brugsch, a ou la lumière zodiacale, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology , 
1892-93, vol. xv. p. 235; cf. Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie der alien JEyypter, pp. 566-571, for the 
feudal rôle of Horus Sapdi, or Sapdîti in the east of the Delta. 

ANHÛltl. 5 



and finally Harhûdîti at Edfû. 1 Râ, the solar dislc, was enthroned at Helio- 

polis, iind sun-gods were numerous among the 
nome deities, but they were sun-gods closely 
connected with gods representing the sky, 
and resembled Horus quite as much as Râ. 
Whether under the name of Horus or of Anhûri, 
the sky was early identified with its most brilliant 
luminary, its solar eye, and its divinity was as it were 
fused into that of the Sun. 2 Horus the Sun, and Râ, the 
Sun-God of Heliopolis, had so permeated each other that 
none could say where the one began and the other 
ended. One by one all the functions of Râ had been 
usurped by Horus, and all the designations of Horus had 
been appropriated by Râ. The sun was styled Harmak- 
hûîti, the Horus of the two mountains — that is, the 
Horus who comes forth from the mountain of the east in 
the morning, and retires at evening into the mountain of 
the west; 3 or Hartimâ, Horus the Pikeman, that Horus 
whose lance spears the hippopotamus or the serpent of the 
celestial river ; 4 or Harnûbi, the Golden Horus, the great 
golden sparrow-hawk with mottled plumage, who puts 
all other birds to flight ; 5 and these titles 
were indifferently applied to each of the 
feudal gods who represented the sun. The 
latter were numerous. Sometimes, as in 
the hawk-headed Hennis. 6 the case of Harkhobi, Horus of Kkobiû, 7 

1 The reading H;ir-Behûdîti was proposed by Mr. Lepage-Renouf {Proceedings of the Society of 
Biblical Archxology, 1885-86, pp. 143, 144), and has been adopted by most Egyptologists. I do not 
think it so well founded as to involve an alteration of the old reading of Hûdît for the name of the 
city of Edfû (Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 313, note 2). 

2 The confusion of Horus, the sky, with Râ, the sun, has supplied M. Lefébdre with the subject 
of one of the most interesting chapters in his Yeux d' 'Horus, p. 94, et seq., to which I refer the reader 
for further details. 

* From the time of Champollion, Harmakhûîti has been identified with the Harmachis of the 
Greeks, the great Sphinx. 

* Har-timâ has long been considered as a Horus making truth by the destruction of his adversaries 
(Pierret, Le Panthéon égyptien, pp. 18-21). I gave the true meaning of this word as early as 1876, in 
the course of my lectures at the College de France (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie 
Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 411). 

5 Harnûbi is the god of the Antœopolite nome (J. de Eodgé, Textes géographiques du temple d'Edfou, 
in the Revue archéologique, 2nd series, vol. xxii. pp. 6, 7; cf. Brugsch, Dictionnaire géographique, p. 507). 

A bronze of the Saïte period, from the Posno collection, and now in the Louvre ; drawn by 
Faucher-Gudin. The god is represented as upholding a libation vase with both hands, and pouring 
the life-giving water upon the king, standing, or prostrate, before him. In performing this ceremony, 
he was always assisted by another god, generally by Sit, sometimes by Thot or Anubis. 

7 Harlchobi, Harâmhhobiû is the Horus of the marshes (hhobiû) of the Delta, the lesser Horus the son 
of lsis (Brugsch, Dictionnaire géographique, p. 568, et seq.), who was also made into the son of Osiris. 


a geographical qualification was appended to the generic term of Horus, while 
specific names, almost invariably derived from the parts which they were sup- 
posed to play, were borne by 
others. The sky-god wor- 
shipped at Thinis in Upper 
Egypt, at Zarît and at Seben- 
nytos in Lower Egypt, was 
called Anhûri. When he as- 
sumed the attributes of Kâ, 
and took upon himself the 
solar nature, his name was 
interpreted as denoting the 
conqueror of the sky. He 
was essentially combative. 
Crowned with a group of up- 
right plumes, his spear raised 
and ever ready to strike the 
foe, he advanced along the 
firmament and triumphantly 
traversed it day by day. 1 The 


sun-god who at Medamôt Taûd 

and Erment had preceded Amon as ruler of the Theban plain, was also a warrior, 
and his name of Montû had reference to his method of fighting. He was de- 
picted as brandishing a curved sword and cutting off the heads of his adversaries. 2 
Each of the feudal gods naturally cherished pretensions to universal dominion, 
and proclaimed himself the suzerain, the father of all the gods, as the local 
prince was the suzerain, the father of all men ; but the effective suzerainty 
of god or prince really ended where that of his peers ruling over the adjacent 
nomes began. The goddesses shared in the exercise of supreme power, and had 
the same right of inheritance and possession as regards sovereignty that 
women had in human law. 3 Isis was entitled lady and mistress at Bûto, as 

1 The right reading of the name was given as far back as Lepsii s (Ueber den ersten ^Hgyptischen 
Gôtterhreis, p. 170, n. 3). The part played by the god, and the nature of the link connecting him 
with Shu, have been explained by Maspero (Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. 
pp. 332, 35G, 357). The Greeks transcribed his name Onouris, and identified him with Ares (Lee- 
sians, Papyri Grxci, vol. i. p. 124, 1. 13, and p. 128). 

2 Montû preceded Amon as god of the land between Kûs and Gebelên, and he recovered his old 
position in the Grœco-Eoman period after the destruction of Thebes. Most Egyptologists, and finally 
Biiugsch (Religion unci Mythologie, p. 701), made him into a secondary form of Amon, which, is con- 
trary to what we know of the history of the proviuce. Just as Onu of the south (Erment) preceded 
Thebes as the most important town in that district, so Montû bad been its most honoured god. 
Herb Wiedemann (Die Religion der alten Mgypter, p. 71) thinks the name related to that of Amoii 
and derived from it, with the addition of tbe final tû. 

3 In attempts at reconstituting Egyptian religions, no adequate weight has hitherto been given 
to the equality of gods and goddesses, a fact to which attention was first called by Maspero (Etudes 
de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 253, et seq.). 




was at Denderah, and as Nit at Sais, " the firstborn, when as yet there 
had been no birth." 1 They enjoyed in their 
cities the same honours as the male gods in 
theirs; as the latter were kings, so were they 
queens, and all bowed down before them. The 
animal gods, whether entirely in the form of 
beasts, or having human bodies attached to 
animal heads, shared omnipotence with those in 
human form. Horus of Hibonû swooped down 
upon the back of a gazelle like a hunting 
hawk, 2 Hâthor of Denderah was a cow, Bastit 
of Bubastis was a cat or a tigress, while 
Nekhabit of El Kab was a great bald-headed 
vulture. 3 Hermopolis worshipped the 
ibis and cynocephalus of Thot; Oxyr- 
rhynchus the mormyrus fish ; 4 and Om- 
bos and the Fayûm a crocodile, under 
the name of Sobku, 5 sometimes with 
the epithet of Azaï, the brigand. 6 
We cannot always understand what led 
the inhabitants of each nome to affect 
one animal rather than another. Why, 
towards Graîco-Koman times, should they have worshipped the jackal, or even 

' Champollion, Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie, vol. i. p. 683 A; cf. the inscription ou tl.e 
Naophoros statuette in the Vatican (Bkugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum JEgypliacarum, p. 637, 1. 8) : 
"Nît the Great, the mother of Kâ, who was bom the first, in the time when as yet there had been no 

2 J. de Rouge, Textes Géographiques du Temple d'Edfou, iu the Bévue Archéologique, 2nd series, 
vol. xxiii. pp. 72, 73; Beugsch, Religion und Mythologie, pp. 664, 665. 

3 Nekhabît, the goddess of the south, is the vulture, so often represented in scenes of war or 
sacrifice, who hovers over the head of the Pharaohs. She is also shown as a vulture-headed 
woman (Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia Egizia, p. 1020, aud pi. cccxlviii. 2, 4). 

4 We have this on the testimony of classic writers, Strabo, book xvii. p. 812, De Inde et Osiride, 
§ vii., 1872, Parthey's edition, pp. 9, 30, 128 ; ^Elianus, Hist, anim., book x. § 46. 

5 Soblcû, Sovhâ is the animal's name, and the exact translation of Sovku would be crocodile-god- 
Its Greek transcription is SoOxoj (Strabo, book xvii. p. 811 ; cf. Wilcken, Der Labyrintherbauer 
Pelesuchos, in the Zeitschri/t, 1884, pp. 136-139). On account of the assonance of the names he was 
sometimes confouuded with Sivû, Sibû by the Egyptians themselves, and thus obtained the titles of 
that god (Rosellini, Monumenti del Culto, pi. xx. 3; cf. Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie, pp. 590, 
591). This was especially the case at the time when Sit having been proscribed, Sovku the crocodile, 
who was connected with Sit, shared his evil reputation, and endeavoured to disguise his name or true 
character as much as possible. 

Azaï is generally considered to be the Osiris of the Fayûm (Buugsch, Dictionnaire géographique, 
p. 770 ; Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, p. 103), but he was only transformed into Osiris, and that 
by the most daring process of assimilation. His full name defines him as Osiri Azaï hi-liâit To-shit 
(Osiris the Brigand, ivho is in the Fayûm'), that is to say, as Sovku identified with Osiris (Mariette, 
Monuments divers, pi. 39 b). 

7 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a green enamelled figure in my possession (Saïte period). 




the dog, at Siût? 1 How came Sit to be incarnate in a fennec, or in an imaginary 
quadruped ? 2 Occasionally, however, we can follow the train of thought that 
determined their choice. The habit of certain monkeys in 
assembling as it were in full court, and chat- 
tering noisily a little before sunrise and 
sunset, would almost justify the as yet 
uncivilized Egyptians in entrusting 
cynocephali with the charge 
of hailing the god morning 
and evening as he appeared in 
the east, or passed away in the 

West. 3 If Kâ WaS held tO be THE F£Nî j EC) supposed prototype op the typhonian animal. 

a grasshopper under the Old 

Empire, it was because he flew far up in the sky like the clouds of locusts driven 
from Central Africa ^-^ags a^- ^^a w-aa-^, which suddenly fall 

upon the fields 

and ravage them. 


Most of the Nile-gods, Kbnûmû, Osiris, Harshafitû, were incarnate in the form 
of a ram or of a buck. Does not the masculine vigour and procreative 
rage of these animals naturally point them out as fitting images of the 
life-giving Nile and the overflowing of its waters ? It is easy to understand 
how the neighbourhood of a marsh or of a rock-encumbered rapid should 
have suggested the crocodile as supreme deity to the inhabitants of the 

1 Ûapuaîtû, the guide of the celestial ways, who must not be confounded with Anubis of the 
Cynopolite nomc of Upper Egypt, was originally the feudal god of Siût. He guided human souls 
to tlio paradise of the Oasis, and the sun upon its southern path by day, and its northern path by night. 

s Champollion, Rosellini, Lepsius, have held that the Typhonian animal was a purely imaginary 
one, and Wilkinson says that the Egyptians themselves admitted its unreality by representing it 
along with other fantastic beasts (Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. pp. 136, 137). This would 
rather tend to show that they believed in its actual existence (cf. p. 84 of this History). Pleyte 
(La Religion des Pre~- Israélites, p. 187) thinks that it may be a degenerated form of the figure of the 
ass or orvx. 

a Ma spero, Éludes de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 34, 35 ; cf. Lepage-Renouf, 
Tlie Booh of the Dead, iu the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. xiv. pp. 272, 273. 

4 Cf. La sauterelle de Râ from Papi IL, 1. 660, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. xii. p. 170. 

• Sculptured and painted scene from the tympanum of a stela in the Gîzeh Museum. Drawn 
by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey. 



Fayûm or of Ombos. The crocodiles there multiplied so rapidly as to 
constitute a serious danger ; there they had the mastery, and could be 
appeased only by means of prayers and sacrifiées. When instinctive terror 
had been superseded by reflection, and some explanation was offered of the 
origin of the various cults, the very nature of the 
animal seemed to justify the veneration with which 
it was regarded. The crocodile is amphibious; and 
Sobkû was supposed to be a crocodile, because before 
the creation the sovereign god plunged recklessly 
into the dark waters and came forth to form the 
world, as the crocodile emerges from the river to lay 
its eggs upon the bank. 1 

Most of the feudal divinities began their lives in 
solitary grandeur, apart from, and often hostile to,, 
their neighbours. Families were assigned to them 
later. 2 Each appropriated two companions and formed 
a trinity, or as it is generally called, a triad. But 
there were several kinds of triads. In nomes subject 
to a god, the local deity was frequently content with 
one wife and one son ; but often he was united to two 
goddesses, who were at once his sisters and his wives according to the national 
custom. Thus, Thot of Hermopolis possessed himself of a harem consisting 
of Seshaît-Safkhîtâbûi and Nahmâûît. 3 Tûmû divided the homage of the 
inhabitants of Heliopolis with Nebthôtpît and with Iûsasît. 4 Khnûmû seduced 

1 Champollion, Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie, vol. i. p. 233 : " Sobkû, lord of Ombos, the- 
god Sibû, father of the gods, the great god, lord of Neshît (Ptolemaïs), crocodile which ariseth, 
resplendent from the waters of the divine Nû, which was in the beginning, and, when once it was, 
then was all which has been since the time of Kâ." 

2 The existence of the Egyptian triads was discovered and defined by Champollion (Lettre* 
écrites d'Égypte, 2nd edit., 1833, pp. 155-159). These triads have long served as the basis upon 
which modern writers have sought to establish their systems of the Egyptian religion. Brugsch was 
the first who rightly attempted to replace the triad by the Enuead, in his book Religion und Mythologie 
der alten JEgypter. The process of forming local triads, as here set forth, was first pointed out by 
Maspero (Etudes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 2G9, et seq.). 

3 At Denderah, for example, we find Thot followed by his two wives (Dùmichen, Bauurkunde der 
Tempelanlagen von Dendera, pp. 26, 27). Nahmâûît, Ne/iaeoCs, is a form of Hâthor, and wears the 
sistrum upon her head. Her name signifies she who removes evil; it was an epithet of Hâthor's, and 
alludes to the power of her sistrum's sound to drive away evil spirits (Brugsch, Religion und Mytho- 
logie, pp. 471, 472). There has, as yet, been no satisfactory interpretation of the name of Safkhit- 
âbûi, or Seshait (Lepage-Renouf, The Booh of the Bead, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical 
Archxology, 1892-93, vol. xv. p. 378). The goddess herself is a duplicate of Thot as the inventor 
of letters and founder of temples (Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie, pp. 473-475). 

4 Here again the names are only epithets showing the impersonal character of the goddesses. 
The first may mean the lady of the quarry, or of the mine, and denote Hâthor of Belbeïs or Sinai, as 
united with Tûmû. It is found on monuments of various epochs (Brugsch, Dictionnaire géographique, 
pp. 332, 333, 1272, 1273). The second name, which the Greeks transcribed as Sdwtris (De hide et 
Osiride, § xv., Parthey's edition, p. 26), seems to mean, " She comes, she grows," and is also nothing 
but a qualification applied to Hâthor in allusion to some circumstance as yet unknown to us (Ledrain, 
Le Papyrus de Luynes, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. i. p. 91 ; cf. Maspero, Études de Mythologie et 


and rallied the two fairies of the neighbouring cataract — Anûkît the con- 
strainer, who compresses the Nile between its rocks at Philae and at Syene, 
and Satît the archeress, who shoots forth the current straight and swift as an 
arrow. 1 Where a goddess reigned over a nome, the triad was completed by- 
two male deities, a divine consort and a divine son. Nit 
of Sais had taken for her husband Osiris of Mendes, and 
borne him a lion's whelp, Ari-hos-nofîr. 2 Hâthor of Den- 
derah had completed her household with Haroêris and a 
younger Horus, with the epithet of Ahi — he who strikes 
the sistrum. 3 A triad containing two goddesses produced 
no legitimate offspring, and was unsatisfactory to a 
people who regarded the lack of progeny as a cur^e 
from heaven ; one in which the presence of a son pro- 
mised to ensure the perpetuity of the race was more 
in keeping with the idea of a blessed and prosperous 
family, as that of gods should be. Triads of tlie 
former kind were therefore almost everywhere broken 
up into two new triads, each containing a divine father, 
a divine mother, and a divine son. Two fruitful 
households arose from the barren union of Thot with 
Safkhîtâbûi and Nahmâûît : one composed of Thot, 
Safkhîtâbûi, and Harnubi, the golden sparrow-hawk ; 4 into 
the other Nahmâûît and her nursling Nofirhoru entered. 5 imiiotpO.' 
The persons united with the old feudal divinities in order to form triads 
were not all of the same class. Goddesses, especially, were made to order, 
and might often be described as grammatical, so obvious is the linguistic device 
to which they owe their being. From Bâ, Amon, Horus, Sobkû, female Bas, 
Amons, Horuses, and Sobkûs were derived, by the addition of the regular 

(V Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 273). Ill the Luyncs Papyrus, for instance, they are represented 
as standing behind their husband (Recueil, vol. i., plate belonging to M. Ledrain's memoir). 

1 Maspero, Eludes de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 273, et seq. 

2 Arihosnofir means the lion tohose gaze has a beneficent fascination (Bp.ugsch, Religion und Mytho- 
logie, pp. 349-351). He also goes under the name of Tûtû, which seems as though it should be 
translated " the hounding," — a mere epithet characterizing one gait of the lion-god's. 

3 BituGSCH (Religion und Mylhologie der alten JEgypter, p. 376) explains the name of Ahi as 
meaning he who causes his waters to rise, and recognizes this personage as being, among other things, 
a form of the Nile. The interpretation offered by myself is borne out by the many scenes representing 
the child of Hâthor playing upon the sistrum and the monâlt (Lanzone, Bizionario di Mitologia, pi. 
xl. 2, 3). Moreover, ahi, ahit is an invariable title of the priests and priestesses whose office it is, 
during religious ceremonies, to strike the sistrum, and that other mystic musical instrument, the 
sounding whip called monâit (cf. Maspeiîo. in the Revue Critique, 1893, vol. i. p. 289). 

4 This somewhat rare triad, noted by Wilkinson (Manners and Customs, 2nd edit , vol. iii. p. 230), 
is sculptured on the wall of a chamber in the Tûrah quarries. 

4 Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie der alten JEgypier, pp. 483, 48 1. 

6 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bronze statuette encrusted with gold, in the Gîzeh Museum 
(Mariette, Album du Musée de Boulaq, pl. 6). The seat is alabaster, and of modern manufacture. 




feminine affix to the primitive masculine names — Eâît, Ainomt, Horii, Sobkît. 1 
In the same way, detaclied cognomens of divine fathers were 
embodied in divine sons. Imhotpû, " he who comes in peace," 
was merely one of the epithets of Phtah before he became 
incarnate as the third member of the Memphite triad. 2 In other 
cases, alliances were contracted between divinities of ancient 
stock, but natives of different nomes, as in the case of Isis of Bûto 
and the Mendesian Osiris; of Haroêris of Edfû and Hâthor of 
Denderah. In the same manner Sokhît of Letopolis and Bastît 
of Bubastis were appropriated as wives to Phtah of Memphis, 
Nofirtûmû being represented as his son by both unions. 3 These 
improvised connections were generally determined by consider- 
ations of vicinity ; the gods of conterminous principalities were 
married as the children of kings of two adjoining kingdoms are 
married, to form or to consolidate relations, and to establish 
bonds of kinship between rival powers whose unremitting hos- 
tility would mean the swift ruin of entire peoples. 

The system of triads, begun in primitive times and continued 
unbrokenly up to the last days of Egyptian polytheism, far from 
in any way lowering the prestige of the feudal gods, was rather 
the means of enhancing it in the eyes of the multitude. Power- 
ful lords as the new-comers might be at home, it was only in the 
strength of an auxiliary title that they could enter a strange city, 
and then only oq condition of submitting to its religious law. 
nofietûmû. 4 Hâthor, supreme at Denderah, shrank into insignificance before 
Haroêris at Edfû, and there retained only the somewhat subordinate part of a 
wife in the house of her husband. 5 On the other hand, Haroêris when at 

1 Maspreo, Etudes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 7, 8, 250. 

2 Imhotpû, the Iinouthes of the Greeks, and by them identified with iEsculapius, was discovered 
by Salt (Essay on Dr. Young's and M. Champollion's Phonetic System of Hieroglyphics, pp. 49, 50, 
pl. iii. 1), and his name was first translated as he who comes with offering (Arundale-Bonomi-Birch, 
Gallery of Antiquities selected from the British Museum, p. 29). The translation, he who comes in peace, 
proposed by E. de Rougé, is now universally adopted (Brogsch, Religion und Mythologie, p. 526; 
Pierret, Le Panthéon Égyptien, p. 77 ; Wiedemann, Die Religion der alten JEgypter, p. 77). Imhotpû 
did not take form until the time of the New Empire ; his great popularity at Memphis and throughout 
Egypt dates from the Saïte and Greek periods. 

3 Originally, Nofirtûmû appears to have been the son of cat or lioness-headed goddesses, Bastît 
and Sokhît, and from them he may have inherited the lion's head with which he is often represented 
(cf. Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, p. 385, pi. cxlvii. 4, cxlviii. 1, 2). His name shows him 
to have been in tbe first place an incarnation of Atûmû, but he was affiliated to the god Phtah 
of Memphis when that god became the husband of his mothers, and preceded Imhotpû as the third 
personage in the oldest Memphite triad. 

4 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bronze statuette incrusted with gold, in the Gîzeh Museum 
(Mariette, Album photographique du Musée de Boulaq, pl. 5). 

5 Each year, and at a certain time, the goddess came in high state to spend a 'few days in the 



Denderak descended from the supreme rank, and was nothing more than the 
almost useless consort of the lady Hâthor. His name came first in invocations 
of the triad because of his position therein as husband and father ; but this 
was simply a concession to the propriety of etiquette, and even 
though named in second place, Hâthor was none the less the real 
chief of Denderah and of its divine family. 1 Thus, the principal 
personage in any triad was always the one who had been patron of 
the nome previous to the introduction of the triad : in some places 
the father-god, and in others the mother-goddess. The son in a 
divine triad had of himself but limited authority. When Isis and 
Osiris were his parents, he was generally an infant Horus, naked, 
or simply adorned with necklaces and bracelets ; a thick lock of 
hair depended from his temple, and his mother squatting on her 
heels, or else sitting, nursed him upon her knees, offering him her 
breast. 2 Even in triads where the son was supposed to have 
attained to man's estate, he held the lowest place, and there was 
enjoined upon him the same respectful attitude towards his parents 
as is observed bv children of human race in the presence of "o^s, son < 

J ' ISIS. 

theirs. He took the lowest place at all solemn receptions, spoke 
only with his parents' permission, acted only by their command and as 
the agent of their will. Occasionally he was vouchsafed a character of 
his own, and filled a definite position, as at Memphis, where Imhotpû 
was the patron of science. 4 But, generally, he was not considered as 
having either office or marked individuality ; his being was but a feeble 
reflection of his father's, and possessed neither life nor power except as 
derived from him. Two such contiguous personalities must needs have 

great temple of Edfû, with ber husband Haroêris (J. de Rouge, Textes géographiques du temple 
d'Ed/ou, pp. 52, 53 ; Mariette, Dendérah, vol. iii. pi. vii. 73, and Texte, pp. 99, 107). 

1 The part played by Haroêris at Denderah was so inconsiderable that the triad containing him 
is not to be found in the templo. " In all our four volumes of plates, the triad is not once represented, 
and this is the more remarkable since at Thebes, at Memphis, at Philœ, at the cataracts, at Elephan- 
tine, at Edfû, among all the data which one looks to find in temples, the triad is most readily 
distinguished by the visitor. But we must not therefore conclude that there was no triad in this 
case. The triad of Edfû consists of Hor-Hut, Hâthor, and Hor-Sam-ta-ui. The triad of Denderah 
contains Hâthor, Hor-Hut, and Hor-Sam-ta-ui. The difference is obvious. At Edfû, the male prin- 
ciple, as represented by Hor-Hut, takes the first place, whereas the first person at Denderah is Hâthor, 
who represents the female principle" (Mariette, Dendérah, Texte, pp. 80, 81). 

2 For representations of Harpocrates, the child Horus, see Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia Egizia, 
pis. ccxxvii., ccxxviii., and particularly pi. cccx. 2, where there is a scene in which the young god, 
represented as a sparrow-hawk, is nevertheless sucking the breast of his mother Isis with his beak. 

' Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a statuette in the Gîzeh Museum (Mariette, Album du Mutée 
de Boulaq, pl. 4). 

4 E. de Rougé, Notice sommaire des Monuments Égyptiens, 1855, p. 106; Biîugsch, Religion und 
Mythologie der alten Mgypter, p. 526, et seq. ; Wiedemann, Die Religion der alten JEgypter, p. 77. 
Hence he is generally represented as seated, or squatting, and attentively reading a papyrus roll, 
which lies open upon his knees ; cf. the illustration on p. 105. 



been confused, and, as a matter of fact, were so confused as to become at 
length nothing more than two aspects of the same god, who united in his 

own person degrees of relationship 
mutually exclusive of each other in a 
human family. Father, inasmuch as 
he was the first member of the triad ; 
son, by virtue of being its third 
member ; identical with himself in 
both capacities, he was at once his 
own father, his own son, and the 
husband of his mother. 1 

Gods, like men, might be resolved 
into at least two elements, soul and 
body; 2 but, in Egypt, the concep- 
times and in different schools. It 
might be an insect — butterfly, bee, or prayiDg mantis ; 4 or a bird — the 
ordinary sparrow-hawk, the human-headed sparrow-hawk, a heron or a 
crane — hi, haï — whose wings enabled it to pass rapidly through space ; 5 
or the black shadow — hliaibit — that is attached to every body, 6 but which 
death sets free, and which thenceforward leads an independent existence, 
so that it can move about at will, and go out into the open sunlight. 
Finally, it might be a kind of light shadow, like a reflection from the 
surface of calm water, or from a polished mirror, the living and coloured 
projection of the human figure, a double — ha — reproducing in minutest detail 

1 The part and the genesis of these son-deities were first clearly defined by E. de Rougé (Expli- 
cation d'une inscription égyptienne prouvant que les anciens Égyptiens ont connu la génération éternelle 
du Fils de Dieu, p. 24, et seq. ; cf. Annales de philosophie chrétienne, May, 1851 ; Étude sur une stèle 
égyptienne appartenant à la Bibliothèque impériale, pp. 6, 7). 

2 In one of the Pyramid texts, Sâhû-Orion, the wild hunter, captures the gods, slaughters and 
disembowels them, cooks their joints, their haunches, their legs, in his burning cauldrons, and feeds 
on their souls as well as on their bodies (Unas, lines 509-514). A god was not limited to a single body 
and a single soul ; we know from several texts that Râ had seven souls and fourteen doubles (Dumichex, 
Tempel-Inschriften, I, Edfou, pl. xxix. ; E. von Bergmann, Hieroglyphische Inschriften, pi. xxxiii. 
1. 3, and p. 25, note 1, of the text; Brcgsch, Dictionnaire Hiéroglyphique, Supplément, pp. 997, 1230; 
Lepage-Renouf, On the true Sense of an important Egyptian Word, in the Transactions of the Society 
of Biblical Archeology, vol. vi. pp. 504, 505). 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Naville's Das Thebanische Todtenbuch, vol. i. pi. civ. Pc. 

4 Mr. Lepage-Renouf supposes that the soul may have been considered as being a butterfly at 
times, as in Greece (A Second Note, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archseolagy, vol. xiv. 
p. 400) ; M. Lefébuiîe thinks that it must sometimes have been incarnate as a wasp — I should rather 
say a bee or a praying mantis (Étude sur Abydos, in the Proceedings, vol. xv. pp. 142, 143). 

5 The simple sparrow-hawk is chieflv used to denote the soul of a god ; the human-headed 
sparrow-hawk the heron, or the crane is used indifferently for human or divine souls. It 
is from Horapollo (book i. § 7, Leemans' edition, pp. 8, 151, 152) that we learn this symbolic signifi- 
cance of the sparrow-hawk and the pronunciation of the name of the soul as 6a?. 

6 For the black Shadow, see Birch, On the Shade or Shadoiv of the Dead (Transactions of the 
Society of Biblical Archseology, vol. viii. pp. 386-397), and the illustrations of his paper. 


the complete image of the ohject or the person to whom it belonged. 1 The 
soul, the shadow, the double of a god, was in no way essentially different from 


the soul, shadow, or double of a man ; his body, indeed, was moulded out 
of a more rarefied substance, and generally invisible, but endowed with the 
same qualities, and subject to the same imperfections as ours. The gods, 

1 The nature of the double lias long been misapprehended by Egyptologists, who had even made 
its name into a kind of pronominal form (E. de Rougé, Chrestomathie Égyptienne, 2nd part, pp. 
€1-03). That nature was publicly and almost simultaneously announced in 1878, first by Maspero 
(Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 1-34; cf. {bld., pp. 35-52), and directly 
afterwards by Lepage-Renouf (On the true Sense of an important Egyptian Word, in the Transaction!! 
of the Society of Biblical Archxology, vol. vi. pp. 494-508). The idea which the Egyptians had 
formed of the double, and the influence which that idea exercised upon their conception of the life 
beyond, have been mainly studied by Maspero (Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, 
vol. i. pp. 77-91, 388-400), and Wiedemann, The Ancient Egyptian Doctrine of the Immortality of the 
Soid, 1895. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Dumichen (Resultate, vol. ii. pi. lix.), of a 
scene on the cornice of the front room of Osiris on the terrace of the great temple of Denderah. The 
soul on the left belongs to Horus, that on the right to Osiris, lord of Amentît. Each bears upon its 
head the group of tall feathers which is characteristic of figures of Anhûri (cf. p. 99). 



therefore, on the whole, were more ethereal, stronger, more powerful, better 
fitted to command, to enjoy, and to suffer than ordinary men, but they were 
still men. They had bones, 1 muscles, flesh, blood ; they were hungry and 
ate, they were thirsty and drank ; our passions, griefs, joys, infirmities, were 
also theirs. The sa, a mysterious fluid, circulated throughout their members, 
and carried with it health, vigour, and life. 2 They were not all equally 
charged with it; some had more, others less, their energy beiDg in proportion 
to the amount which they contained. The better supplied willingly gave of 
their superfluity to those who lacked it, and all could readily transmit it to 
mankind, this transfusion being easily accomplished in the temples. The 
king, or any ordinary man who wished to be thus impregnated, presented 
himself before the statue of the god, and squatted at its feet with his back 
towards it. The statue then placed its right hand upon the nape of his neck, 
and by making passes, caused the fluid to flow from it, and to accumulate 
in him as in a receiver. This rite was of temporary efficacy only, and 
required frequent renewal in order that its benefit might be maintained. 
By using or transmitting it the gods themselves exhausted their sa of life ; and 
the less vigorous replenished themselves from the stronger, while the latter 
went to draw fresh fulness from a mysterious pond in the northern sky, called 
the " pond of the Sa." 3 Divine bodies, continually recruited by the influx of 
this magic fluid, preserved their vigour far beyond the term allotted to the 
bodies of men and beasts. Age, instead of quickly destroying them, hardened 
and transformed them into precious metals. Their bones were changed to 
silver, their flesh to gold ; their hair, piled up and painted blue, after 
the manner of great chiefs, was turned into lapis-lazuli. 4 This transfor- 
mation of each into an animated statue did not altogether do away with 

1 For example, the text of the Destruction of Men (1. 2), anil other documents, teach us that the 
flesh of the aged sun had become gold, and his bones silver (Lefébure, Le Tombeau de Séti I er , 4th 
part, pl. xv. 1. 2, in vol. ii. of the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire). The blood of Kâ is mentioned 
in the Book of the Dead (chap. xvii. 1. 29, Navillk's edition, pi. xxiv.), as well as the blood of Isis 
(chap. clvi. ; cf. Mirinrî, 1. 774) and of other divinities. 

2 On the sa of life, whose action had already been partially studied by E. de Bougé (Étude sur une 
stèle égyptienne appartenant à la Bibliothèque impériale, p. 110, et seq.), see Maspebo, Études de 
Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, Toi. i. pp. 307-309. 

3 It is thus that in the Tale of the Daughter of the Prince of Bahhtan we find that one of the 
statues of the Theban Khonsû supplies itself with sa from another statue representing one of the 
most powerful forms of the god (E. de Rouge, Étude sur une stèle, pp. 110, 111; Maspero, Les Contes 
populaires, 2nd edit., p. 221). The pond of Sa, whither the gods go to draw the magic fluid, is 
mentioned in the Pyramid texts. 

4 Cf. the text of the Destruction of Men (II. 1, 2) referred to above, where age produces these 
transformations in the body of the sun. This changing of the bodies of the gods into gold, silver, 
and precious stones, explains why the alchemists, who were disciples of the Egyptians, often corn- 
pared the transmutation of metals to the metamorphosis of a genius or of a divinity : they thouglit 
by their art to hasten at will that which was the slow work of nature. 



the ravages of time. Decrepitude was no less irremediable with them than 
with men, although it came 
to them more slowly ; when 
the sun had grown old " his 
mouth trembled, his dri- 
velling ran down to earth, 
his spittle dropped upon the 
ground." 1 

None of the feudal gods 
had escaped this destiny ; 
for them as for mankind 
the day came when they 
must leave the city and go 
forth to the tomb. 2 The 
ancients long refused to 
believe that death was na- 
tural and inevitable. They 
thought that life, once 
begun, might go on inde- 
finitely : if no accident 
stopped it short, why should 
it cease of itself? And so 
men did not die in Egypt ; 
they were assassinated. 4 
The murderer often be- 
longed to this world, and was easily recognized as another man, an animal, 
some inanimate object such as a stone loosened from the hillside, a tree which 
fell upon the passer-by and crushed him. But often too the murderer was of 
the unseen world, and so was hidden, his presence being betrayed in his malig- 
nant attacks only. He was a god, an evil spirit, a disembodied soul who sli'Iy 

1 Pleyte- Rossi, Les Papyrus Hiératiques de Turin,' pl. cxxxii. 11. 1, 2; cf. Lefébure, Un 
Chapitre de la chronique solaire, in the Zeitschrift, 1883, p. 28. 

* The idea of the inevitable death of the gods is expressed in other places as well as in a passage 
of the eighth chapter of the Booh of the Dead (Naville's edition, pi. x. 11. 6, 7), which has not to my 
knowledge hitherto been noticed: "lam that Osiris in the West, and Osiris knoweth his day in 
which he shall be no more ; " that is to say, the day of his death when he will cease to exist. All the 
£ods, Atûmû, Hoius, Râ, Thot, Phtah, Khnûmû, are represented under the forms of mummies, and 
this implies that they are dead. Moreover, their tombs were pointed out in several places in Egypt 
{De Iside et Osiride,§ 21, Leemans' edition, p. 36). 

3 Drawn by Boudier from a photograph by M. Gayet, taken in 1889, of a scene in the hypostyle 
hall at Lûxor. This illustration shows the relative positions of prince and god. Amon, after having 
placed the pschent upon the head of the Pnaraoh Amenôthes III., who kneels before him, proceeds, 
to impose the sa. 

* Maspeuo, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 250. 




insinuated itself into the living man, or fell upon him with irresistible violence 
— illness being a struggle between the one possessed and the power whicb 
possessed bim. As soon as the former succumbed he was carried away from his 
own people, and bis place knew him no more. But had all ended for him with 
the moment in which he had ceased to breathe ? As to the body, no one was 
ignorant of its natural fate. It quickly fell to decay, and a few years sufficed 
to reduce it to a skeleton. And as for the skeleton, in the lapse of centuries 
that too was disintegrated and became a mere train of dust, to be blown away 
by the first breath of wind. The soul might have a longer career and fuller 
fortunes, but these were believed to be independent upon those of the body, and 
commensurate with them. Every advance made in the process of decomposition 
robbed the soul of some part of itself; its consciousness gradually faded until 
nothing was left but a vague and hollow form that vanished altogether when 
the corpse had entirely disappeared. When the body had been buried in 
earth inundated by the Nile, there was soon no trace of it left, and its final 
dissolution condemned the soul to a second death from which there was no 
survival. But if, on the other hand, the body had been buried in the desert, 
its skin, speedily desiccated and hardened, changed into a case of blackish 
parchment beneath which the flesh slowly wasted away, 1 and the whole frame 
thus remained intact, at least in appearance, while its integrity insured that of 
the soul. Hence the custom of carrying the dead to the hills, and entrusting 
them to the conservative action of the sand. Subsequently, artificial means 
were sought to secure at will that incorruptibility of the human larva without 
which the persistence of the soul was but a useless prolongation of the death- 
agony ; and these a god was supposed to have discovered — Anubis the jackal, 
lord of sepulture. He cleansed the body of the viscera, those parts which most 
rapidly decay, saturated it with salts and aromatic substances, protected it first 
of all with the hide of a beast, and over this laid a thick layer of stuffs. His 
art, transmitted to the embalmers, was the regular means of transforming 
into mummies all bodies which it was desired to preserve. If there were 
hills at hand, thither the mummied dead were still borne, partly from custom, 
partly because the dryness of the air and of the soil offered them a further 
chance of preservation. 2 In districts of the Delta where the hills were 
so distant as to make it very costly to reach them, advantage was taken of 
the smallest sandy islet rising above the marshes, and there a cemetery was 

1 Such was the appearance of the bodies of Coptic monks of the sixth, eighth, and ninth centuries, 
■which I found in the convent cemeteries of Contra-Syene, Taud, and Akhmîm, right in the midst of 
the desert. 

2 For the primitive mode of burial in hides, and the rites which originated in connection 
■with it, cf. Lefébdeb, Etudes sur Abydos, ii., in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 
1892-93, vol. xv. pp. 433-435. 


founded. 1 Where this resource failed, the mummy was fearlessly entrusted to 
the soil itself, but only after being placed within a sarcophagus of hard stone, 
whose lid and trough, hermetically fastened together with cement, prevented 
the penetration of any moisture. Keassured on this point, the soul followed 
the body to the tomb, and there dwelt with it as in its eternal house, upon 
the confines of the visible and invisible worlds. 

Here the soul kept the distinctive character and appearance which 
pertained to it " upon the earth : " as it had been a 
"double" before death, so it remained a double after 
it, able to perform all functions of animal life 
after its own fashion. It moved, went, came, 
spoke, breathed, accepted pious homage, but 
without pleasure, and as it were mechanically, 
rather from an instinctive horror of annihilation than 
from any rational desire for immortality. 
Unceasing regret for the bright world 
which it had left disturbed its mournful 
and inert existence. " O my brother, 

withhold not thyself from drinking and from eating, from drunkenness, from 
love, from all enjoyment, from following thy desire by night and by day ; put 
not sorrow within thy heart, for what are the years of a man upon earth? 
The West is a land of sleep and of heavy shadows, a place wherein its 
inhabitants, when once installed, slumber on in their mummy-forms, never 
more waking to see their brethren ; never more to recognize their fathers 
or their mothers, with hearts forgetful of their wives and children. The 
living water, which earth giveth to all who dwell upon it, is for me but 
stagnant and dead ; that water floweth to all who are on earth, while for 
me it is but liquid putrefaction, this water that is mine. Since I came 
into this funereal valley I know not where nor what I am. Give me 
to drink of running water! . . . Let me be placed by the edge of the 
water with my face to the North, that the breeze may caress me and 
my heart be refreshed from its sorrow." 3 By day the double remained 

1 As in the ease of the islets forming the cemetery of the great city of Tennis, in the midst of 
Lake Menzaleh (Etienne Quatremère, Mémoires géographiques et historiques sur l'Egypte, vol. i. 
pp. 331, 332). 

2 Drawing by Faucher-Gudin of a stuccoed and painted wooden figure from Thebes, now in my 
possession (XXVI th dynasty). It is one of those jackals which were placed upon the lids of little 
naos-like sepulchral chests, and which held the so-called Canopic jars containing the viscera of the 
dead — heart, liver, lungs, and spleen. 

3 This text is published in Prisse d'Avennes, Monuments, pi. xxvi. bis, 11. 15-21, and in Lepsius, 
Auswahl der wichtigsten Urkunden, pi. xvi. It has been translated into English by Birch, On Tico 
Egyptian Tablets of the Ptolemaic Period (from Archxologia, vol. xxxix.), into German by Brugsch, 



concealed within the tomb. If it went forth by night, it was from no 
capricious or sentimental desire to revisit the spots where it had led 
a happier life. Its organs needed nourishment as formerly did those of its 
body, and of itself it possessed nothing "but hunger for food, thirst for 
drink." 1 Want and misery drove it from its retreat, and flung it back 
among the living. It prowled like a marauder about fields and villages, 
picking up and greedily devouring whatever it might find on the ground — 
broken meats which had been left or forgotten, house and stable refuse — 
and, should these meagre resources fail, even the most revolting dung and 
excrement. 2 This ravenous spectre had not the dim and misty form, the 
long shroud or floating draperies of our modern phantoms, but a precise 
and definite shape, naked, or clothed in the garments which it had 
worn while yet upon earth, and emitting a pale light, to which it 
owed the name of Luminous — Khû, Khûû? The double did not allow 
its family to forget it, but used all the means at its disposal to 
remind them of its existence. It entered their houses and their bodies, 
terrified them waking and sleeping by its sudden apparitions, struck them 
down with disease or madness, 4 and would even suck their blood like 

Die JEgyptische Graberivelt, pp. 39, 40, and into French by Maspero, Etudes Égyptienne*, vol. i. pp. 
187-190. As regards the persistence of this gloomy Egyptian conception of the other world, see 
Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 179-181. 

1 Teti, 11. 74, 75. "Hateful unto Teti is hunger, and he eateth it not; hateful unto Teti is 
thirst, nor hath he drunk it." We see that the Egyptians made hunger and thirst into two sub- 
stances or beings, to be swallowed as food is swallowed, but whose effects were poisonous unless 
counteracted by the immediate absorption of more satisfying sustenance (Maspero, Études de 
Mythologie et d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 154-156). 

2 King Teti, when distinguishing his fate from that of the common dead, stated that he had 
abundauce of food, and hence was not reduced to so pitiful an extremity. " Abhorrent unto Teti is 
excrement, Teti rejecteth urine, and Teti abhorreth that which is abominable in him; abhorrent unto 
him is fsecal matter and he eateth it not, hateful unto Teti is liquid filth " {Teti, U. 68, 69). The 
same doctrine is found in several places in the Boole of the Dead. 

3 The name of luminous was at first so explained as to make the light wherewith souls were 
clothed, into a portion of the divine light (Maspero, Études démotiques, in the Recueil, vol. i. p. 21, 
note 6, and the Revue critique, 1872, vol. ii. p. 338 ; Dévéria, Lettre à M. Paul Pierret ster le chapitre 
I er du Todtenbuch, in the Zeitschrift, 1870, pp. 62-61). In my opinion the idea is a less abstract one, 
and shows that, as among many other nations, so with the Egyptians the soul was supposed to appear 
as a kind of pale flame, or as emitting a glow analogous to the phosphorescent halo which is seen by 
night about a piece of rotten wood, or putrefying fish. This primitive conception may have sub- 
sequently faded, and khû the glorious one, one of the mânes, may have become one of those flattering 
names by which it was thought necessary to propitiate the dead (Maspero, Etudes Egyptiennes, 
vol. ii. p. 12, note 1) ; it then came to have that significance of resplendent with light which is 
ordinarily attributed to it. 

4 The incantations of which the Leyden Papyrus published by Pleyte is full (Etudes Égypto- 
logiques, vol. i.) are directed against dead men or dead women who entered into one of the living to 
give him the migraine, and violent headaches. Another Leyden Papyrus (Leemans, Monuments 
Égyptiens du musée d'antiquités des Pays-Bas à Leyde, 2nd part, pis. clxxxiii., clxxxiv.), briefly 
analyzed by Ghabas (Notices sommaires des Papyrus égyptiens, p. 49), and translated by Maspero 
(Études Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 145-159), contains the complaint, or rather the formal act of 
requisition of a husband whom the luminous of his wife returned to torment in his home, without 
any just cause for such conduct. 



d 'Jim 

the modern vampire. 1 One effectual means there was, and one only, of 
escaping or preventing these visitations, and this lay in taking to the 
tomb all the various pro- 
visions of which the double 
stood in need, and for which 
it visited their dwellings. 
Funerary sacrifices and the 
regular cultus of the dead 
originated in the need experi- 
enced for making provision for 
the sustenance of the manes 
after having secured their 
lasting existence by the mum- 
mification of their bodies. 2 
Gazelles and oxen were 
brought and sacrificed at the 
door of the tomb chapel ; the 
haunches, heart, and breast 
of each victim being pre- 
sented and heaped together 
upon the ground, that there 
the dead might find them 
when they began to be 
hungry. Vessels of beer or 
wine, great jars of fresh 
water, purified with natron, 

or perfumed, were brought to them that they might drink their fill at 
pleasure, and by such voluntary tribute men bought their good will, as in 
daily life they bought that of some neighbour too powerful to be opposed. 


1 Maspeiîo, Notes sur quelques points de grammaire et d'histoire, § 2, in the Zeitschrift, 1S79, p. 53, 
on a text of the Booh of the Dead. 

- Several chapters of the Book of the Bead consist of directions for giving food to that part of 
man which survives his death, e.g. chap, cv., " Chapter for providing food for the double" (Naville's 
edition, pi. csvii.), and chap, cvi., " Chapter for giving daily abundance unto the deceased, in Memphis " 
(Naville's edition, pi. cxviii). 

3 Stela of Antûf I., Prince of Thebes, drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a photograph taken by Emil 
Brugsch-Bey (cf. Mariette, ]\lonnments dicers, pi. 50 b). Below, servants and relations are briuging 
the victims and cutting up the ox at the door of the tomb. In the middle is the dead man, seated 
under his pavilion and receiving the sacrifice : an attendant offers him drink, another brings him 
the haunch of an ox, a third a basket and two jars; provisions fill the whole chamber. Behind 
Antûf stand two servants, the one fanning his master, and the second offering him his staff and 
sandals. The position of the door, which is in the lowest row of the scenes, indicates that what is 
represented above it takes place within the tomb. 



The gods were spared none of the anguish and none of the perils which 
death so plentifully bestows upon men. Their bodies suffered change and 
gradually perished until nothing was left of them. Their souls, like human 
souls, were only the representatives of their bodies, and gradually became 
extinct if means of arresting the natural tendency to decay were not found 
in time. Thus, the same necessity that forced men to seek the kind of 
sepulture which gave the longest term of existence to their souls, compelled 
the gods to the same course. At first, they were buried in the hills, and 
one of their oldest titles describes them as those " who are upon their sand," 1 
safe from putrefaction ; afterwards, when the art of embalming had been 
discovered, the gods received the benefit of the new invention and were 
mummified. Each nome possessed the mummy and the tomb of its dead 
god : at Thinis there was the mummy and the tomb of Anhuri, the mummy 
of Osiris at Mendes, the mummy of Tûmû at Heliopolis. 2 In some of the 
nomes the gods did not change their names in altering the mode of their 
existence : the deceased Osiris remained Osiris ; Nit and Hâthor when dead 
were still Nit and Hâthor, at Sais and at Denderah. But Phtah of Memphis 
became Sokaris by dying ; 3 Uapûaîtû, the jackal of Siût, was changed into 
Anubis ; 4 and when his disk had disappeared at evening, Anhuri, the sunlit 
sky of Thinis, was Khontamentît, Lord of the West, until the following day. 5 
That bliss which we dream of enjoying in the world to come was not granted 
to the gods any more than to men. Their bodies were nothing but inert 
larvas, " with unmoving heart," 6 weak and shrivelled limbs, unable to stand 

1 In the Booh of Knowing that which is in Hades, for the fourth and fifth hours of the night, we 
have the description of the sandy realm of Sokaris and of the gods Hiriû Shâitû-senû, who are on 
their sand (Maspeeo, Etudes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 61-73). Else- 
where in the same book we have a cynocephalus upon its sand (Lefébure, Tombeau de Séti I er , 4th 
part, pl. xxxii.), and the gods of the eighth hour are also mysterious gods who are on their sand 
{ibid., pl. xlvii., et seq.). Wherever these personages are represented in the vignettes, the Egyptian 
artist has carefully drawn the ellipse painted in yellow and sprinkled with red, which is the con- 
ventional rendering of sand, and sandy districts. 

2 The sepulchres of Tûmû, Khopri, Eâ, Osiris, and in each of them the heap of sand biding the 
body, are represented in the tomb of Seti I. (Lefébure, Tombeau de Séîi 1 er , 4th part, pis. xliv., xlv.), 
as also the four rams in which the souls of the god are incarnate (cf. Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie 
et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 112). The tombs of the gods were known even in Eomau 
times. Où ixôvov 8è rovrov ('Od/piSos) oi /epeîs héyovaiv à\\à nal tûv &\Koiv 8eûv, oaoi àyévvrjToi 
/xrjS' &<pdaproi, rà /Jtlv trdijxaTa Trop' avroîs KelcrBai Kafiovra Kal flepa-iretWOai, ris Sè t^i/^àj iv ovpavtp Xa/XTrav 
&<TTpa (De Iside et Osiride, chap, xxi., Parthet's edition, p. 36). 

3 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 21, 22. 

4 To my mind, at least, this is an obvious conclusion from the monuments of Siût, in which the 
jackal god is called Ûapûaitû, as the living god, lord of the city, and Anûpû, master of embalming 
or of the Oasis, lord of Ra-qrirît, iuasmuch as he is god of the dead. Ea-qrirît, the door of the 
stone, was the name which the people of Siût gave to their necropolis and to the infernal domain 
of their god. 

5 Maspero, Éludes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 23, 21. 

This is the characteristic epithet for the dead Osiris, Urdu-hit, he whose heart is unmoving, he 
whose heart no longer beats, and who has therefore ceased to live. 



upright were it not that thè bandages in which they were swathed stiffened 
them into one rigid block. Their hands and heads alone were free, and were 
of the green or black shades of putrid flesh. Their doubles, like those of 
men, both dreaded and regretted the light. All sentiment was extinguished 
by the hunger from which they suffered, and 
gods who were noted for their compassionate 
kindness when alive, became pitiless and fero- 
cious tyrants in the tomb. When once men 
were bidden to the presence of Sokaris, Khonta- 
meutît, or even of Osiris, 1 " mortals come terri- 
fying their hearts with fear of the god, and 
none dareth to look him in the face either 
among gods or men ; for him the great are 
as the small. He spareth not those who love 
him ; he beareth away the child from its 
mother, and the old man who walketh on his 
way; full of fear, all creatures make suppli- 
cation before him, but he turneth not his 
face towards them." 2 Only by the unfailing 
payment of tribute, and by feeding him as 
though he were a simple human double, could 
living or dead escape the consequences of his 
furious temper. The living paid him his dues 
in pomps and solemn sacrifices, repeated from 

year to year at regular intervals; 4 but the dead bought more dearly the 
protection which he deigned to extend to them. He did not allow them to 
receive directly the prayers, sepulchral meals, or offerings of kindred on 
feast-days ; all that was addressed to them must first pass through his hands. 
When their friends wished to send them wine, water, bread, meat, vegetables, 
and fruits, he insisted that these should first be offered and formally 
presented to himself; then he was humbly prayed to transmit them 
to such or such a double, whose name and parentage were pointed out to 
him. He took possession of them, kept part for his own use, and of his 


1 On tbe baleful character of Osiris, see Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie, vol. ii. 
pp. 11, 12. 

2 This is a continuation of the text cited above, p. 113. 

3 Drawing by Faucher-Gudin of a bronze statuette of Saïte period, found in the department of 
Hérault, at the end of a gallery in an ancient mine. 

4 The most solemn of these sacrifices were celebrated during the first days of the year, at the 
feast Ûagaît, as is evident from texts in the tomb of Norfirhotpû and others (Bénédite, Le Tombeau 
de Noferhotpû, in the Mémoires de la Mission française, vol. v. p. 417, et seq.). 



bounty gave the remainder to its destined recipient. 1 Thus death made no 
change in the relative positions of the feudal god and his worshippers. The 
worshipper who called himself the amakhû of the god during life was the 
subject and vassal of his mummied god even in the tomb; 2 and the god 
who, while living, reigned over the living, after his death continued to reign 
over the dead. 

He dwelt in the city near the prince and in the midst of his subjects : Eâ 
living in Heliopolis along with the prince of Heliopolis; Haroêris in Edlu 
together with the prince of Edfû ; Nît in Sais with the prince of Saïs. 
Although none of the primitive temples have come down to us, the name 
given to them in the language of the time, shows what they originally were. 
A temple was considered as the feudal mansion 3 — haït, — the house — pirû, pi, 
— of the god, better cared for, and more respected than the houses of men, 
but not otherwise differing from them. It was built on a site slightly raised 
above the level of the plain, so as to be safe from the inundation, and where 
there was no natural mound, the want was supplied by raising a rectangular 
platform of earth. A layer of sand spread uniformly on the sub-soil 
provided against settlements or infiltration, and formed a bed for the 
foundations of the building. 4 This was first of all a single room, circum- 
scribed, gloomy, covered in by a slightly vaulted roof, and having no 
opening but the doorway, which was framed by two tall masts, whence 
floated streamers to attract from afar the notice of worshippers ; in front 
of its façade 5 was a court, fenced in with palisading. Within the temple 
were pieces of matting, low tables of stone, wood, or metal, a few utensils for 
cooking the offerings, a few vessels for containing the blood, oil, wine, and 

\ This function of the god of the dead was clearly defined for the first time by Maspero in 1878 
{Eludes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 3-6). 

2 The word amàkliû is applied to an individual who has freely entered the service of king or 
baron, and taken him for his lord : amakhû Ichir niMf means vassal of his lord. In the same way, each 
cbose for himself a god who became his patron, and to whom he owed fealty, i.e. to whom be was 
amakhû — vassal. To the god he owed the service of a good vassal — tribute, sacrifices, offerings; 
and to his vassal the god owed in return the service of a suzerain — protection, food, reception 
into his dominions and access to his person. A man might be absolutely nib amakhit, master of 
fealty, or, relatively to a god, amakhû khir Osiri, the vassal of Osiris, amakhû khir Phtah-Sokari, the 
vassal of Phtah-Sokaris. 

3 Masi'ero, Sur le sens des mots Nouit et Hait, pp. 22, 23 ; cf. Proceedings of the Society of Biblical 
Archxology, 1889-90, vol. xii. pp. 256, 257. The further development of this idea may be found in 
M. de Kochemonteix's lecture on La Grande Salle hypostyle de Kamak, in his Œuvres diverses, 
p. 49, et seq. 

4 This custom lasted into Grseco-Koman times, and was part of the ritual for laying the founda- 
tions of a temple. After the king bad dug out the soil on the giound where the temple was ti 
stand, he spread over the spot sand mixed with pebbles and precious stones, and upon this he laid 
the first course of stone (Dumichen, Baugeschiihte des Denderatempels, pi. li. ; and Brugsch, Thesaurus 
Inscriptionum 2Egyptiacarum, pp. 1272, 1273). 

5 No Egyptian temples of the first period have come down to our time, but Herr Erman (JZgypten, 
p. 379) has very justly remarked that we have pictures of them in several of the signs denotiug the 
word temple in texts of the Memphite period. 



water with which the god was every day regaled. As provisions for sacrifice 
increased, the number of chambers increased with them, and rooms for flowers, 
perfumes, stuffs, precious vessels, and food were grouped around the primitive 
abode; until that which had once constituted the whole temple became 
no more than its sanctuary. 1 
There the god dwelt, not only 
in spirit but in body, 2 and the 
fact that it was incumbent 
upon him to live in several 
cities did not prevent his being 
present in all of them at once. 
He could divide his double, 
imparting it to as many sepa- 
rate bodies as he pleased, and 
these bodies might be human 
or animal, natural objects or 
things manufactured — such as 
statues of stone, metal, or wood. 4 Several of the gods were incarnate in rams : 
Osiris at Mendes, Harshafitû at Heracleopolis, Khnûmû at Elephantinê. Living 
rains were kept in their temples, and allowed to gratify any fancy that came 
into their animal brains. Other gods entered into bulls : Râ at Heliopolis, and, 
subsequently, Phtah at Memphis, Minû at Thebes, and Montû at Hermonthis. 
They indicated beforehand by certain marks such beasts as they intended to 
animate by their doubles, and he who had learnt to recognize these signs was 
at no loss to find a living god when the time came for seeking one and pre- 
senting it to the adoration of worshippers in the temple. 5 And if the statues 

1 Maspero, Archéologie Égyptienne, pp. 65, G6, 105, 10G; English edition, pp. G3, 61, 104, 105; 
M. de Eochemonteix, Œuvres diverses, p. 10, et seq. 

* Tims at Denderah (Mariette, Dendérah, vol. i. pi. liv.), it is said that the soul of Hâthor likes 
to leave heaven "in the form of a human-headed sparrow-hawk of lapis-lazuli, accompanied by her 
divine cycle, to come and unite herself to the statue." "Other instances," adds Mariette, " would 
seem to justify us in thinking that the Egyptians accorded a certain kind of life to the statues and 
images which they made, and believed (especially in connection with tombs) that the spirit haunted 
images of itself {Dendérah, Texte, p. 15G). 

3 A sculptor's model from Tanis, now in the Gîzeh Museum (Mariette, Notice des principaux 
monuments, 1876, p. 222, No. 666), drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a photograph by Emil Brugsch- 
Bcy. The sacred marks, as given in the illustration, are copied from those of similar figures on stela) 
of the Serapeum. 

4 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 77, et seq. ; Archéologie 
Égyptienne, pp. 106, 107; English edition, pp. 105, 106. This notion of actuated statues 
seemed so strange and so unworthy of the wisdom of the Egyptians that Egyptologists of the rank 
of M. de Bougé {Étude sur une stèle égyptienne de la Bibliothèque Impériale, p. 109) have taken 
in an abstract and metaphorical sense expressions referring to the automatic movements of divine 

5 The bulls of Eâ and of Phtah, the Mnevis and the Hapis, are known to us from classic writers 
(De Iside et Osiride, § 4, 33, etc. ; Parthey's edition, pp. 7, 8, 58 ; Herodotus, ii. 153, iii. 28 ; 




had not the same outward appearance of actual life as the animals, they none 
the less concealed beneath their rigid exteriors an intense energy of life which 
betrayed itself on occasion by gestures or by words. They thus indicated, in 
language which their servants could understand, the will of the gods, or their 
opinion on the events of the day; they answered questions put to them in 

accordance with prescribed 
forms, and sometimes they 
even foretold the future. 
Each temple held a fairly 
large number of statues re- 
presenting so many embodi- 
ments of the local divinity 
and of the members of his 
triad. These latter shared, 
albeit in a lesser degree, all 
the honours and all the pre- 
rogatives of the master ; they 
open-air offerings to the serpent. accepted sacrifices, answered 

prayers, and, if needful, they 
prophesied. They occupied either the sauctuary itself, or one of the halls 
built about the principal sanctuary, or one of the isolated chapels which 
belonged to them, subject to the suzerainty of the feudal god. 2 The god 
had his divine court to help him in the administration of his dominions, just 
as a prince is aided by his ministers in the government of his realm. 

This State religion, so complex both in principle and in its outward mani- 
festations, was nevertheless inadequate to express the exuberant piety of the 
populace. There were casual divinities in every nome whom the people did 
not love any the less because of their inofficial character; such as an 

Diodorus, i. 84, 88; jElianus, xi. 11; Ammianus Marcellinus, xxii. 14, 2). The bull of Minû at 
Thebes may be seen in the procession of the god as represented on monuments of Ramses II. 
and Ramses III. (Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. pi. Is.). Bâkhû (called 
Iîakis by the Greeks), the bull of Hermonthis, is somewhat rare, and mainly represented upon 
a few later stelas in the Gîzeh Museum (Grébaut, Le Musée Egyptien, pl. vi., where it is 
certainly the bull of Hermonthis, although differently named); it is chiefly known from the 
texts (cf. Brugsch, Dictionnaire géographique, p. 200 ; cf. Macrobius, Saturnales, 1. 21). The 
particular signs distinguishing each of these sacred animals have been determined both on the 
authority of ancient writers, and from examination of the figured monuments; the arrangement 
and outlines of some of the black markings of the Hapis are clearly shown in the illustration on 
p. 119. 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph taken in the tomb of Khopirkerîsonbû (Scheil, 
Mémoires de la Mission Française, vol. v. pl. iv., wall C of the tomb, 2nd row). The inscription 
behind the urseus states that it represents Banuit the August, lady of the double granary. 

2 They are the 0col aiwaoi of Greek writers. For their accommodation in the temples, cf. M. de 
Rochejionteix, Œuvres diverses, p. 11, et seq. 



exceptionally high palm tree in the midst of the desert, 1 a rock of curious out- 
line, a spring trickling drop by drop from the mountain to which hunters came 
to slake their thirst in the hottest hours of the day, 2 or a great serpent believed 
to be immortal, which haunted a field, a grove of trees, a grotto, or a mountain 
ravine. 8 The peasants of the district brought it bread, cakes, fruits, and thought 
that they could call down the 
blessing of heaven upon their 
fields by gorging the snake with 
offerings. Everywhere on the 
confines of cultivated ground, 
and even at some distance from 
the valley, are fine single syca- 
mores, flourishing as though by 
miracle amid the sand. Their 
fresh greenness is in sharp con- 
trast with the surrounding fawn- 
coloured landscape, and their 
thick foliage defies the midday 
sun even in summer. But, on 
examining the ground in which 
they grow, we soon find that they drink from water which has infil- 
trated from the Nile, and whose existence is in nowise betrayed upon the 
surface of the soil. They stand as it were with their feet in the river, though 
no one about them suspects it. Egyptians of all ranks counted them divine 
and habitually worshipped them, 5 making them offerings of figs, grapes, 
cucumbers, vegetables, and water in porous jars daily replenished by good and 

1 Such as the palm tree, which grows a hundred cubits high, and belongs to the species Hyphxna 
Argun, Mart., now so rare. The author of the prayer in the Sallier Papyrus I., pi. viii. 11. 4, 5, 
identifies it with Thot, the god of letters and eloquence. 

2 Such as the Bir-el-Aîn, the spring of the Ûady Sabùn, near Akhraîm, where the hermitage of a 
Mussulman wêli has succeeded the chapel of a Christian saint which had supplanted the rustic shrine 
of a form of the god Mînû (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. i. p. 
210, et seq.). 

3 It was a serpent of this kind which gave its name to the hill of Shêikh Harîdî, and the adjaceut 
nome of the Serpent Mountain (Dumichen, Géographie des Alten-/Egypten, pp. 178, 179 ; Maspero, 
Études de Mythologie et à" Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 412) ; and though the serpent has now 
turned Mussulman, he still haunts the mountain and preserves his faculty of coming to life again 
every time that he is killed. 

4 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a scene in the tomb of Khopirkerîsonbû (cf. Scheii.,, Mémoires 
de la Mission française, vol. v. pl. iv., wall C, top row). The sacred sycamore here stands at the end 
of a field of corn, and would seem to extend its protection to the harvest. 

5 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 224-227. They were 
represented as animated by spirits concealed within them, but which could manifest themselves on 
occasion. At such times the head or whole body of the spirit of a tree would emerge from its 
trunk, and when it returned to its hiding-place the trunk reabsorbed it, or ate it again, according 
to the Egyptian expression (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. 
pp. 104, 105, 108, etc.), which I have already had occasion to quote above; see p. 83, note 4. 




charitable people. Passers-by drank of the water, and requited the unexpected 
benefit with a short prayer. There were several such trees in the Meraphite 
nome, and in the Letopolite nome from Dashûr to Gîzeh, inhabited, as every 
one knew, by detached doubles of Nûît and Hâthor. These combined districts 
were known as the " Land of the Sycamore," a name afterwards extended to 
the city of Memphis ; and their sacred trees are worshipped at the present 
day both by Mussulman and Christian fellahîn. 1 The most famous among 
them all, the Sycamore of the South — nûhît rîsit — was regarded as the 
living body of Hâthor on earth. 2 Side by side with its human gods and 
prophetic statues, each nome proudly advanced one or more sacred animals, 
one or more magic trees. Each family, and almost every individual, also 
possessed gods and fetishes, which had been pointed out for their worship 
by some fortuitous meeting with an animal or an object ; by a dream, or 
by sudden intuition. They had a place in some corner of the house, or a 
niche in its walls ; lamps were continually kept burning before them, and 
small daily offerings were made to them, over and above what fell to 
their share on solemn feast-days. In return, they became the protectors 
of the household, its guardians and its counsellors. Appeal was made to 
them in every exigency of daily life, and their decisions were no less 
scrupulously carried out by their little circle of worshippers, than was the 
will of the feudal god by the inhabitants of his principality. 

The prince was the great high priest. 3 The whole religion of the nome 
rested upon him, and originally he himself performed its ceremonies. Of these, 
the chief was sacrifice, — that is to say, a banquet which it was his duty to prepare 
and lay before the god with his own hands. He went out into the fields to 
lasso the half-wild bull ; bound it, cut its throat, skinned it, burnt part of 
the carcase in front of his idol and distributed the rest among his assistants, 
together with plenty of cakes, fruits, vegetables, and wine. 4 On the occasion, 
the god was present botli in body and double, suffering himself to be clothed and 

1 The tree at Matarîeh, commonly called the Tree of the Virgin, seems to me to be the successor 
of a sacred tree of Heliopolis in which a goddess, perhaps Hâthor, was worshipped. 

2 Brugsch, Dictionnaire géographique, pp. 330-332, 1244, etc. ; cf. Lanzone, Dizionario di Mito- 
logia, p. 878. The Memphite Hâthor was called the Lady of the Southern Sycamore. 

a See the examples of the princes of Beni-Hasan and Ashmûnéin, under the XII th dynasty 
(Maspeho, La grande Inscription de Beni-Hassan, in the Becueil de Travaux, vol. i. pp. 179, 180), and 
of the princes of Elephantinê under the VI th and VII th dynasties (Boeriaist, Les Tombeaux 
d'Assouan,in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. x. pp. 182-193). M. Lepage-Kenouf has given a very clear 
account of current ideas on this subject in his article On the Priestly Character of the Earliest 
Egyptian Civilization (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 1889-90, vol. xii. p. 355, 
et seq.). 

4 This appears from the sacrificial ritual employed in the temples up to the last days of 
Egyptian paganism ; cf., for instance, the illustration on p. 123 (Mariette, Abydos, vol. i. pi. liii.), 
where the king is represented as lassoing the bull. That which in historic times was but au image, 
had originally been a reality (Maspero, Lectures historiques, pp. 71-73). 


perfumed, eating and drinking of the best that was set on the table before him, 
and putting aside some of the provisions tor future use. This was the time to 
prefer requests to him, while he was gladdened and disposed to benevolence 
by good cheer. He was not without suspicion as to the reason why he was 
so feasted, but he had laid down his conditions beforehand, and if they were 
faithfully observed he willingly yielded to the means of seduction brought 

to bear upon him. Moreover, he himself had arranged the ceremonial in a 
kind of contract formerly made with his worshippers and gradually perfected 
from age to age by the piety of new generations. 2 Above all things, he insisted 
on physical cleanliness. The officiating priest must carefully wash — ûâbû — 
his face, mouth, hands, and body ; and so necessary was this preliminary 
purification considered, that from it the professional priest derived his name 
of ûîbû, the washed, the clean. 3 His costume was the archaic dress, modified 

1 Bas-relief from the temple of Seti I. at Abydos ; drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by M. Daniel 
He'ron. Seti I., second king of the XIX th dynasty, is throwing the lasso ; his son, Ramses H., 
who is still the crown prince, holds the bull by the tail to prevent its escaping from the slip-knot. 

2 The most striking example of the divine institution of religious services is furnished by the 
inscription relating the history of the destruction of men in the reign of Bâ (Lefébure, Le Tombeau 
de Se~ti I er , 4th part, pl. xvi. 1. 31, et seq., in vol. ii. of the Mémoires de la Missio?i Française du 
Caire), where the god, as he is about to make his final ascension into heaven, substitutes animal for 
human sacrifices. 

3 The idea of physical cleanliness comes out in such variants as ûihû totûi, " clean of both 
hands," found on stclre instead of the simple title ûîbû. We also know, on the evidence of 
ancient writers, the scrupulous daily care which Egyptian priests took of their bodies (Herodotus, 
ii. 37; cf. Wiedemann, Herodot's Zweites Bueh, p. 16G, et seq.). It was 'only as a secondary matter 
that the idea of moral purity entered into the conception of a priest. The Purification Bitual for 
officiating priests is contained in a papyrus of the Berlin Museum, whose analysis and table of chap- 
ters has been published by Herr Oscar von Lesim, Das Ritualbuch des Ammonsdienstes, p. 4, et seq. 



according to circumstances. During certain services, or at certain points 
in the sacrifices, it was incumbent upon him to wear sandals, the panther- 
skin over his shoulder, and the thick lock of hair falling over his right ear; 1 
at other times he must gird himself with the loin-cloth having a jackal's 
tail, and take the shoes from off his feet before proceeding with his office, 
or attach a .false beard to his chin. 2 The species, hair, and age of the 
victim, the way in which it was to be brought and bound, the manner and 
details of its slaughter, the order to be followed in opening its body and 
cutting it up, were all minutely and unchangeably decreed. 3 And these were 
but the least of the divine exactions, and those most easily satisfied. The 
formulas accompanying each act of the sacrificial priest contained a certain 
number of words whose due sequence and harmonies might not suffer the 
slightest modification whatever, even from the god himself, under penalty of 
losing their efficacy. They were always recited with the same rhythm, accord- 
ing to a system of chaunting in which every tone had its virtue, combined with 
movements which confirmed the sense and worked with irresistible effect : one 
false note, a single discord between the succession of gestures and the utterance 
of the sacramental words, any hesitation, any awkwardness in the accomplish- 
ment of a rite, and the sacrifice was vain. 4 

Worship as thus conceived became a legal transaction, in the course of 
which the god gave up his liberty in exchange for certain compensations whose 
kind and value were fixed by law. By a solemn deed of transfer the wor- 
shipper handed over to the legal representatives of the contracting divinity 
such personal or real property as seemed to him fitting payment for the favour 
which he asked, or suitable atonement for the wrong which he had done. If 
man scrupulously observed the innumerable conditions with which the transfer 
was surrounded, the god could not escape the obligation of fulfilling his peti- 
tion ; 5 but should he omit the least of them, the offering remained with the 

1 Thus it was with the Samû and Anmaûlif priests, whatever the nature and signification of these 
two sacerdotal titles may be (Lepsics, Denlcm., ii. 18, 19, 21, 22, etc. ; Mariette, Abydos, vol. i. 
pis. xxxi., xxxii., xxxiii., xxxiv., etc.). 

2 Mariette, Abydos, vol. i. pis. xvii., xxxv., xliii., xliv., etc., where sacerdotal functions are invari- 
ably exercised by Seti I., assisted by his son. 

3 See the detailed representation of sacrifice in Mariette, Abydos, vol. i. pi. xlviii. For the 
examination of the victims and the signs by which the priests knew that they were good to sacrifice 
before the gods, cf. Herodotus, ii. 38 (Wiedemann, HerodoVs Zweites Buck, p. 180, et seq.). 

* The real value of formulas and of the melopceia in Egyptian rites was recognized by Maspero, 
Etude de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 3il2, 303, 373, et seq. 

5 This obligation is evident from texts where, as in the poem of Pentaûirît, a king who is in 
danger demands from his favourite god the equivalent in protection of the sacrifices which he has 
offered to that divinity, and the gifts wherewith he has enriched him. " Have I not made unto thee 
many offerings ? " says Kamses II. to Amon. " I have filled thy temple with my prisoners, I have 
built thee a mansion for millions of years. . . . Ah, if evil is the lot of them who insult thee, good 
are thy purposes towards those who honour thee, O Amon!" (E. and J. de KoraÉ Le Poème de 
Pentaour, in the Bévue Égyptologique, vol. v. p. 15, et seq.). 



temple and went to increase the endowments in mortmain, while the god was 
pledged to nothing in exchange. Hence the officiating priest assumed a 
formidable responsibility as regarded his fellows : a slip of memory, the 
slightest accidental impurity, made him a bad priest, injurious to himself and 
harmful to those worshippers who had entrusted him with their interests 
before the gods. Since it was vain to expect ritualistic perfections from a prince 
constantly troubled with affairs of state, the custom was established of associating 
professional priests with him, personages who devoted all their lives to the 
study and practice of the thousand formalities whose sum constituted the local 
religion. Each temple had its service of priests, independent of those belong- 
ing to neighbouring temples, whose members, bound to keep their hands 
always clean and their voices true, were ranked according to the degrees of a 
learned hierarchy. 1 At their head was a sovereign pontiff to direct them in 
the exercise of their functions. In some places he was called the first prophet, 
or rather the first servant of the god — hon-nûtir topi; at Thebes he was the 
first prophet of Amon, at Thinis he was the first prophet of Anhuri. 2 But 
generally he bore a title appropriate to the nature of the god whose 
servant he was. 3 The chief priest of Râ at Heliopolis, and in all the 
cities which adopted the Heliopolitan form of worship, was called Oirû mm, 
the master of visions, and he alone besides the sovereign of the nome, or of 
Egypt, enjoyed the privilege of penetrating into the sanctuary, of " entering 
into heaven and there beholding the god" face to face. 4 In the same way, 
the high priest of Anhuri at Sebennytos was entitled the wise and pure warrior 
— àhûîti saû uibu — because his god went armed with a pike, and a soldier god 
required for his service a pontiff who should be a soldier like himself. 5 

These great personages did not always strictly seclude themselves within 

1 The first published attempt at reconstructing the Egyptian hierarchy from the monuments was 
made by M. A. Baillet, De l'Election et de la durée des fonctions du grand prêtre d'Ammon à Thèbes 
(extract from the Revue Archéologique, 2nd series, vol. vi., 1862). Long afterwards Heisr Kheinisch 
endeavoured to show that the learned organization of the Egyptian priesthood is not older than the 
XII th dynasty, and mainly dates from the second Theban empire (Ursprung und Entwickelungs- 
geschichte des Mgyptischen Priesterttcms und Ausbildung der Lehre von der Einheit Gottes, Vienna, 
1878). The most complete account of our knowledge on this subject, the catalogue of the principal 
priesthoods, the titles of the high priests and priestesses in each nome, are to be found in Brugsch, 
Die Mgyptologie, vol. ii. pp. 275-291. 

2 This title of first prophet belongs to priests of the less important towns, and to secondary divinities. 
If we find it employed in connection with the Theban worship, it is because Amon was originally 
a provincial god, and only rose into the first rank with the rise of Thebes and the great conquests 
of the XVIII" 1 and XIX th dynasties (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 53-55). 

3 For a very full list of those titles, see Brugsch, Die JEgyptologie, pp. 280-282. 

* The mystic origin of this name Oirû maù is giveu in chap. cxv. of the Book of the Dead 
(Lepsius' edition, pi. xliv. ; see also Ed. Naville, Un Ostracon Égyptien, extract from the Annales 
du Musée Guimet, vol. i. p. 51, et seq.). The high office of the Oirû maû is described in the Piankhi 
stela (E. de Kougé's edition in the Chrentomathie, vol. iv. pp. 59-G1), where we find it discharged 
by the Ethiopian king on his entry into Heliopolis. 

5 Brugsch, Dictionnaire Géographique, p. 1308. 



the limits of the religious domain. The gods accepted, and even sometimes 
solicited, from their worshippers, houses, fields, vineyards, orchards, slaves, 
and fishponds, the produce of which assured their livelihood and the 
support of their temples. There was no Egyptian who did not cherish the 
ambition of leaving some such legacy to the patron god of his city, " for a 
monument to himself," and as an endowment for the priests to institute prayers 
and perpetual sacrifices on his behalf. 1 In course of time these accumulated 
gifts at length formed real sacred fiefs — hotpû-nûtir — analogous to the ivalcfs of 
Mussulman Egypt. 2 They were administered by the high priest, who, if neces- 
sary, defended them by force against the greed of princes or kings. Two, 
three, or even four classes of prophets or hieroduli under his orders assisted him 
in performing the offices of worship, in giving religious instruction, and in the 
conduct of affairs. Women did not hold equal rank with men in the temples 
of male deities; they there formed a kind of harem whence the god took his 
mystic spouses, his concubines, his maidservants, the female musicians and 
dancing women whose duty it was to divert him and to enliven his feasts. 3 But 
in temples of goddesses they held the chief rank, and were called hierodules, or 
priestesse?, hierodules of Nit, hierodules of ïïâthor, hierodules of Pakhît. 4 The 
lower offices in the households of the gods, as in princely households, were 
held by a troop of servants and artisans : butchers to cut the throats of 
the victims, cooks and pastrycooks, confectioners, weavers, shoemakers, florists, 
cellarers, water-carriers and milk-carriers. 5 In fact, it was a state within a state, 

1 As regards the Saïte period, we are beginning to accumulate many stelae recording gifts to a god 
of land or houses, made either by the king or by private individuals (Révillout, Acte de fondation 
d'une chapelle à Hor-merti dans la ville de Pharbxtus, et Acte de fondation d'une chapelle à Bast dans 
la ville de Bubastis, in the Bévue Egyptologiqve, vol. ii. pp. 32-44; Maspero, Notes sur plusieurs points 
de grammaire et d'histoire, in the Zeitschrift, 1881, p. 117, and 1885, p. 10 ; also Sur deux stèles récem- 
ment découvertes, in the Becueil de Travaux, vol. xv. pp. 84-86). 

s We know from the Great Harris Papyrus to what the fortune of Amon amounted at the end of 
the reign of Kamses III.; its details may be found in Brugsch, Die Mgyptologie, pp. 271-274. Cf. 
in Naville, Bubastis, Eighth Memoir of the Egyptian Exploration Fund, p. 61, a calculation as to the 
quantities of precious metals belonging to one of the least of the temples of Bubastis ; its gold and 
silver were counted by thousands of pounds. 

3 The names of the principal priestesses of Egypt are collected in Brugsch, Die JEgyptologie, 
pp. 262, 263 ; for their offices and functions, cf. Erman, JEgypten, pp. 399-401, who seems to me to 
ascribe too modern an origin to the conception by which the priestesses of a god were considered as 
forming his earthly harem. Under the Old Kingdom we find prophetesses of Thot (Mariette, Les 
Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 183) and of Ûapûaîtû (ibid., p. 162). 

4 Sec Mariette, Dendérah, text, pp. 86, 87, on the priestess of Hâthor at Denderah. Mariette 
remarks (ibid., pp. 83-86) that priests play but a subordinate part in the temple of Hâthor. This 
fact, which surprised him, is adequately explained by remembering that Hâthor being a goddess, 
women take precedence over men in a temple dedicated to her. At Sais, the chief priest was a man, 
the hharp-ltailu (Brugsch, Dictionnaire Géographique, p. 1368); but the persistence with which 
women of the highest rank, and even queens themselves, took the title of prophetess of Nit from the 
times of the Ancient Empire (Mariette, Les Mastabas, pp. 90, 162, 201, 262, 302, 303, 326, 377, etc.) 
shows that in this city the priestess of the goddess was of equal, if not superior, rank to the priest. 

5 A partial list of these may be found in the Hood Papyrus (Maspero, Etudes Egyptiennes, vol. iL 
pp. 56-64), where half the second page is filled with their titles. 


and the prince took care to keep its government in his own hands, either by 
investing one of his children with the titles and functions of chief pontiff, or 
by arrogating them to himself. 1 In that case, he provided against mistakes 
which would have annulled the sacrifice by associating with himself several 
masters of the ceremonies, who directed him in the 
orthodox evolutions before the god and about the 
victim, indicated the due order of gestures and the 
necessary changes of costume, and prompted him 
with the words of each invocation from a book or 
tablet which they held in their hands. 2 

In addition to its rites and special hierarchy, each 
of the sacerdotal colleges thus constituted had a 
theologv in accordance with the nature and attributes 
of its god. Its fundamental dogma affirmed tho 
unity of the nome god, his greatness, his supremacy 
over all the gods of Egypt and of foreign lands 3 — 
whose existence was nevertheless admitted, and none 
dreamed of denying their reality or contesting their 


power. The latter also boasted of their unity, their 

greatness, their supremacy ; but whatever they were, the god of the nome was 
master of them all — their prince, their ruler, their king. It was he alone 
who governed the world, he alone kept it in good order, he alone had 
created it. Not that he had evoked it out of nothing ; there was as yet 
no concept of nothingness, and even to the most subtle and refined of primitive 
theologians creation was only a bringing of pre-existent elements into play. 
The latent germs of things had always existed, but they had slept for ages 
and ages in the bosom of the Nu, of the dark waters. 5 In fulness of time 
the god of each nome drew them forth, classified them, marshalled them 
according to the bent of his particular nature, and made his universe out 
of them by methods peculiarly his own. Nit of Sais, who was a weaver, 

1 As in the case of the princes of Beni-Hassan and Berslich under the XII"' dynasty (Maspero, 
La Grande Inscription de Béni-Hassan, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. i. pp. 179, 180). 

2 The title of such a personage was khri-habi, the man with the roll or tablet, because of the 
p.ipyrus roll, or wooden tablet containing the ritual, which he held in his hand. 

3 In the inscriptions all local gods bear tho titles of Nûtir ûâ, only god ; Sûton nûtirû, Sûntirû, 
2ov0T/p, king of the gods ; of Nûtir âa nib pit, the great god, lord of heaven, which show their preten- 
sions to the sovereignty and to the position of creator of the universe. 

* Drawing by Faucher-Gudin of a green enamelled statuette in my possession. It was from Shâ 
that the Greeks derived their representations, and perhaps their myth of Atlas. 

5 This name is generally read Nûn (cf. Brugsch, Reliijion und Mythologie, p. 107). I have else- 
where given my reasons for the reading Nà {Revue critique, 1872, vol. i. p. 178), which is moreover 
that of E. de Bougé (Études sur le rituel funéraire des anciens Égyptiens, p. 41). Nû would seem 
to be nothing more than a personage mentally evolved by theologians and derived from Nûît, the 
eky-goddess (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et à" Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 358, 359); ho 
had never any worshippers nor ever possessed a sanctuary to himself. 



had made the world of warp and woof, as the mother of a family- 
weaves her children's linen. 1 Khnûmû, the Nile-god of the cataracts, had 
gathered up the mud of his waters and therewith moulded his creatures 
upon a potter's table. 2 In the eastern cities of the Delta these procedures 
were not so simple. 3 There it was admitted that in the beginning earth 
and sky were two lovers lost in the Nû, fast locked in each other's 
embrace, the god lying beneath the goddess. On the day of creation a 
new god, Shu, came forth from the primeval waters, slipped between the 
two, and seizing Nûît with both hands, lifted her above his head with 
outstretched arms. 4 Though the starry body of the goddess extended in 
space — her head being to the west and her loins to the east — her feet and 
hands hung down to the earth. These were the four pillars of the firma- 
ment under another form, and four gods of four adjacent principalities 
were in charge of them. Osiris, or Horus the sparrow-hawk, presided 
over the southern, and Sit over the northern pillar ; Thot over that 
of the west, and Sapdi, the author of the zodiacal light, over that of 
the east. 5 They had divided the world among themselves into four regions, 
or rather into four "houses," bounded by those mountains which surround 
it, and by the diameters intersecting between the pillars. Each of these 
houses belonged to one, and to one only ; none of the other three, nor 
even the sun himself, might enter it, dwell there, or even pass through 
it without having obtained its master's permission. 6 Sibû had not been 
satisfied to meet the irruption of Shû by mère passive resistance. He had 
tried to struggle, and he is drawn in the posture of a man who has just 
awakened out of sleep, and is half turning on his couch before getting up. 7 

1 D. Mallet, Le Culte de Neith a Sais, pp. 185, 186. 

2 At PhilsB he is called " Khnûmû . . . the father of the gods, who is himself, who moulds (hhnûmû) 
men and models (masû) the gods " (Beugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum JEgyptiacarum, p. 752, No. 11). 

3 Sibû and Nûît, as belonging to the old fundamental conceptions common to Egyptian religions, 
especially in the Delta, must have been known at Sebennytos as in the neighbouring cities. In the 
present state of our knowledge it is difficult to decide whether their separation by Sim was a con- 
ception of the local theologians, or an invention of the priests of Heliopolis at the time of the consti- 
tution of the Great Ennead (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. 
pp. 356, 357, 370). 

* This was what the Egyptians called the upliflings of Shu (Booh of the Dead, Naville's edition, 
pl. xxiii., ch. xvii., parts 26, 27 ; cf. Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. 
pp. 337-340). The event first took place at Hermopolis, and certain legends added that in order to 
get high enough the god had been obliged to make use of a staircase or mound situate iu this city, 
and which was famous throughout Egypt (Book of the Dead, Naville's edition, pi. xxiii. ch. xvii. 
11. 4, 5). 

5 Osiris and Horus are in this connection the feudal gods of Mendes and the Osirian cities in the 
east of the Delta. Sit is lord of the districts about Tanis; Thot belongs to Bakhlieh, and Sapdi to 
the Arabian nome, to the Ûady-Tûmilât (cf. Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyp- 
tiennes, vol. ii. p. 364, et se^.). 

c On the houses of the world, and the meaning to be attached to this expression, see Maspero, La 
Pyramide du roi Papi IL, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. xii. pp. 78, 79. 

' In Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, pis. clv.-clviii., we have a considerable number of scenes 



One of his legs is stretched out, the other is bent and partly drawn up as in 
the act of rising. The lower part of the body is still unmoved, but he is 
raising himself with difficulty on his left elbow, while his head droops and 
his right arm is lifted towards the sky. His effort was suddenly arrested. 
Rendered powerless by a stroke of the creator, Sibû remained as if petrified 
in this position, the obvious irregularities of the earth's surface being due to 
the painful attitude in which he was stricken. 1 His sides have since been 


clothecl with verdure, generations of men and animals have succeeded each 
other upon his back, 3 but without bringing any relief to his pain ; he suffers 
evermore from the violent separation of which he was the victim when Nûît was 
torn from him, and his complaint continues to rise to heaven night and day. 4 

The aspect of the inundated plains of the Delta, of the river by which 
they are furrowed and fertilized, and of the desert sands by which they 
are threatened, had suggested to the theologians of Mendes and Bûto an 

in which Sibû and Nûît arc represented, often along with Shû separating them and sustaining 
Nûît. Some place Sibû in exceptional postures, on which it is unnecessary to dwell ; generally 
he is shown in a similar attitude to that which I describe, and as in the illustration. 
1 Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie der alten JEgypter, p. 224. 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a painting on the mummy-case of Bûtehamon in the Turin 
Museum (Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, pi. Ixi. 4). " Shû, the great god, lord of heaven," 
receives the adoration of two ram-headed souls placed upon his right and left. 

3 In several scenes plants are seeD growing on his body (Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, pi. civ. 
1). The expression upon the bach of Sibû is frequent in the texts, especially in those belonging to the 
Ptolemaic period. Attention was drawn to its importance by Dumichen, Bauurkunde der Tempel- 
anlagen von Edfu, in the Zeitschrift, 1871, pp. 91-93. 

4 The Greeks knew that Kronos lamented and wept: the sea was made of his tears (De Iside et 
Osiride, § 32, PaRTHEY's edition, p. 56) : Ao|ei Si Kal rh virb twu XlvBayopiKuu \e-y6fisvov, ws 7] edKarra 
Kp6i>ov S6.Kpv6v èoTiv aiViTTctrfloi t2> yur; na.8a.phi> fiijSi avfupuAov ehai. The Pythagorean belief was 
probably borrowed from Pgypt, and in Egyptian writings there are allusions to the grief of Sibû 
(Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie der alten Mgypter, p. 227). 




explanation of the mystery of creation, in which the feudal divinities of these 
cities and of several others in their neighbourhood, Osiris, Sit, and Isis, played 
the principal parts. 1 Osiris first represented the wild and fickle Nile of 
primitive times ; afterwards, as those who dwelt upon his banks 
learned to regulate his course, they emphasized the kindlier 
side of his character and soon transformed 
him into a benefactor of humanity, the 
supremely good being, Unnofriû, OnnophrisJ 
He was lord of the principality of Didû, which 
lay along the Sebennytic branch of the river 
between the coast marshes and the entrance 
to the Wâdy Tûmilât, but his domain had 
been divided ; and the two nomes thus formed, 
namely, the ninth and sixteenth nomes of the 
Delta in the Pharaonic lists, remained faithful to 
him, and here he reigned without rival, at Busiris 
as at Mendes. 3 His most famous idol-form was 
the Didû, whether naked or clothed, the fetish, 
formed of four superimposed columns, which 
had given its name to the principality. 6 They THE DIDÙ " DRES8ED .s 
ascribed life to this Didû, and represented it 
with a somewhat grotesque face, big cheeks, thick lips, a necklace round its 
throat, a long flowing dress which hid the base of the columns beneath its 
folds, and two arms bent across the breast, the hands grasping one a whip and 


1 Maspero (Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 359-364) was the first to 
point out that this cosmogony originated in the Delta, and in connection with the Osirian cities. 

2 It has long been a dogma with Egyptologists that Osiris came from Abydos. Maspero has 
shown that from his very titles he is obviously a native of the Delta {Études de Mythologie et 
d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 9, 10), and more especially of Busiris and Mendes. 

3 With reference to these two nomes, see J. de Rougé, Géographie ancienne de la Basse-Égypte, — 
pp. 57-60 for the Busirite nome, and 108-115 for the Mendesian nome, — where the ideas found in 
different parts of Brugsch's Dictionnaire Géographique, pp. 11, 166, 171, 185, 953, 977, 1144, 1149, etc., 
are collected and co-ordinated. 

4 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a specimen in blue enamelled pnttery, now in my possession. 

5 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a figure frequently found in Theban mummy-cases of XXI st 
and XXII nd dynasties (Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. pi. xxv., No. 5). 

6 The Didû has been very variously interpreted. It has been taken for a kind of nilometer 
(Champollion), for a sculptor's or modeller's stand (Salvolini, Analyse grammaticale raisonnée de 
différents textes anciens égyptiens, p. 41, No. 171), or a painter's easel (Arundale-Bonomi-Birch, 
Gallery of Antiquities in the British Museum, p. 31 ; Bunsen, JEgyptens Stelle, vol. i. p. 688, No. 27) 
for an altar with four superimposed tables, or a sort of pedestal bearing four door-lintels (E. de 
Rouge, Chrestomathie égyptienne, vol. i. p. 88, note 1), for a series of four columns placed one behind 
another, of which the capitals only are visible, one above the other (Flinders Petrie, Medum, p. 31), 
etc. The explanation given in the text is that of Reu vens (Lettres à M. Letronne, i. p. 69), who recog- 
nized the Didû as a symbolic representation of the four regions of the world ; and of Maspero, Études 
de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 359, note 3. According to Egyptian theologians, 
it represented the spine of Osiris, preserved as a relic in the town bearing the name of Didû, Dld'U. 



the other a crook, symbols of sovereign authority, 
ancient form of Osiris ; but they 
also represented him as a man, 
and supposed him to assume 
the shapes of rams and bulls, 1 
or even those of water-birds, 
such as lapwings, herons, and 
cranes, which disported them- 
selves about the lakes of that 
district. 2 The goddess whom 
we are accustomed to regard 
as inseparable from him, Isis 
the cow, or woman with cow's 
horns, had not always belonged 
to him. Originally she was 
an independent deity, dwelling 
at Bûto in the midst of the 
ponds of Adhu. She had 
neither husband nor lover, but 
had spontaneously conceived 
and given birth to a son, whom 
she suckled among the reeds — 
a lesser Horus who was called 
Harsiîsît, Horus the son of Isis, 
to distinguish him from Haro- 
êris. 3 At an early period she 
was married to her neighbour 
Osiris, and no marriage could 
have been better suited to her 

This, perhaps, was the most 

osiuis-ONNornitis, whip and crook in hand.* 

1 The ram of Blendes is sometimes Osiris, and sometimes the soul of Osiris. The ancients took 
it for a he-goat, and to them \vc are indebted for the record of its exploits (Herodotus, ii. 46 ; cf. 
Wiedemann, Herodots Ziccitcs Buck, p. 21C, et seq.). According to Manetho, the worship of the 
sacred ram is not older than the time of King Kaiekhos of the second dynasty (Unger's edition, 
p. 84). A Ptolemaic necropolis of sacred rams was discovered by Mariette at Tmai el-Amdid, in the 
ruins of Thmûis, and some of their sarcophagi are now in the Gîzeh Museum (Mariette, Monuments 
divers, pis. xlii., xlvi., text, pp. 12, 13, 14). 

2 The Bond, the chief among these birds, is not the phoenix, as has so often been asserted 
(Brtjgsch, Nouvelles Bechcrches sur la division de Vannée, pp. 49, 50 ; Wiedemann, Die Phônix Sage 
im alten Mgypten, 1878, pp. 89-106, and Herodots Zu-eites Buch, pp. 314-316). It is a land of heron, 
either the Ardea cinerea, which is common in Egypt, or else some similar species. 

3 The origin of Isis, and the peculiarity of her spontaneous maternity, were pointed out by 
Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 254, 255, 359-362. 

4 Drawn by Boudier from a statue in green basalt found at Sakkarah, and now in the Gîzeh 
Museum (Maspero, Guide du Visiteur, p. 345, No. 5245). It was published by Mariette, Monuments 
divers, pi. 96 D, and Album photographique du musée de Bâlaq, pl. x. 



nature. For she personified the earth — not the earth in general, like Sibû, with 
its unequal distribution of seas and mountains, deserts and cultivated land ; 

but the black and luxu- 
riant plain of the Delta, 
where races of men, 
plants, and animals in- 
crease and multiply in 
ever- succeeding genera- 
tions. 1 To whom did she 
owe this inexhaustible 
productive energy if not 
to her neighbour Osiris, 
to the Nile? The Nile 
rises, overflows, lingers 
upon the soil ; every year 
it is wedded to the earth, 
and the earth comes 
forth green and fruitful 
from its embraces. The 
marriage of the two ele- 
ments suggested that of 
the two divinities; Osiris 
wedded Isis and adopted 
the young Horus. 

But this prolific and 
gentle pair were not re- 
presentative of all the 
phenomena of nature. 
The eastern part of the 
Delta borders upon the- 
solitudes of Arabia, and 

although it contains several rich and fertile provinces, yet most of 
these owe their existence to the arduous labour of the inhabitants, their 
fertility being dependent on the daily care of man, and on his régulai- 
distribution of the water. The moment he suspends the struggle or relaxes 
his watchfulness, the desert reclaims them and overwhelms them with 


1 Cf. p. 99, note 2, for the evidence of De Iside et Osiride as to the nature of the goddess. 

2 Drawn by Boudier from a green basalt statue in the Gizeh Museum (Maspero, Guide da 
Visiteur, p. 346, No. 5246). The statue has been published by Mariette, Monuments divert, pi. 96 o, 
and Album jihotograplrique, pi. x. It is here reproduced from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bcy. 



sterility. Sit was the spirit of the mountain, stone and sand, the red and 
arid ground as distinguished from the moist black soil of the 
valley. 1 On the body of a lion or of a dog he bore a fan- 
tastic head with a slender curved snout, upright and square- 
cut ears; his cloven tail rose stiffly behind him, springing 
from his loins like a fork. 2 He also assumed a 
human form, or retained the animal head only 
upon a man's shoulders. He was felt to be 
cruel and treacherous, always ready to shrivel 
up the harvest with his burning breath, 
and to smother Egypt beneath a shroud of 
shifting sand. The contrast be- 
tween this evil being and the bene- 
ficent couple, Osiris and Isis, was striking. 
Nevertheless, the theologians of the Delta 
soon assigned a common origin to these 
rival divinities of Nile and desert, red land 
and black. Sibu had begotten them, Nûît 
had given birth to them one after another 
when the demiurge had separated her from 
her husband ; and the days of their 
birth were the days of creation. 5 At 
first each of them had kept to his own 
half of the world. Moreover 
Sit, who had begun by living 
alone, had married, in order that 



1 Set-Typhon, a monograph by Ed. Meyer, may be consulted as to Sit ; but it pushes mystic 
interpretation too far. The explanation of Sît as typifying the desert and drought has prevailed 
from antiquity (cf. De Iside et Osiride, § 33, Parthey's edition, p. 57 : . . . Tv<p£va 5è nâv rb 
aùxnypov Kal irvpâSa Kal ^ripavTiKbv oAws koI iro\4/j.iov Ty iyp^TTjTi). His modern transformation into 
a god who originally represented the slaying and devouring sun, is obtained by a mere verbal artifice 
(Beugsch, Religion und Mythologie, p. 702, et scq.). 

* See the illustration of the typhonian animal on p. 83. It is there shown walking, and goes 
under the name of Sha. 

* Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a paiutcd wooden statuette in my possession, from a funeral 
couch found at Akhmîm. On her head the goddess bears the hieroglyph for her name ; she is 
kneeling at the foot of the funeral couch of Osiris and weeps for the dead god. 

4 Bronze statuette of the XX th dynasty, encrusted with gold, from the Hoffmann collection: 
drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a photograph taken by Legrain in 1891. About the time when the 
worship of Sît was proscribed, one of the Egyptian owners of this little monument had endeavoured to 
alter its character, and to transform it into a statuette of the god Khnûinû. He took out the upright 
ears, replacing them with ram's horns, but made no other change. In the drawing I have had the 
later addition of the curved horns removed, and restored the upright ears, whose marks may still be 
seen upon the sides of the head-dress. 

5 According to one legend which is comparatively old in origin, the four children of Nûît, and 



St . .- ! O .• .• ;-5 • ï . 

he might be inferior to Osiris in nothing. As a matter of fact, his companion, 
Nephthys, did not manifest any great activity, and was scarcely more than 
an artificial counterpart of the wife of Osiris, a second Isis who bore 
no children to her husband ; 1 for the sterile desert brought barrenness to 
her as to all that it touched. Yet she had lost neither the wish nor the 
power to bring forth, and sought fertilization from another source. Tradition 

had it that she had made 

Osiris drunken, drawn him 
to her arms without his 
knowledge, and borne him 
a son ; the child of this 
furtive union was the jackal 
Anubis. 2 Thus when a 
higher Nile overflows lands 
not usually covered by the 
inundation, and lying unpro- 
ductive for lack of moisture, 
the soil eagerly absorbs the 
water, and the germs which 
3ay concealed in the ground 
burst forth into life. The 
gradual invasion of the 


r- .: X J ■ gaiter - -,, 

— --— ^ — — S « tTifi 1 

eitsW ^= 



~S"oo M.c£rcs 


domain of Sit by Osiris marks the beginning of the strife. 4 Sit rebels 
against the wrong of which he is the victim, involuntary though it was; 
he surprises and treacherously slays his brother, drives Isis into temporary 
banishment among her marshes, and reigns over the kingdom of Osiris as well 
as over his own. But his triumph is short-lived. Horus, havirjg grown up, 
takes arms against him, defeats him in many encounters, and banishes him 
in his turn. The creation of the world had brought the destroying and 

Horus her grandson, were born one after another, each on one of the intercalary days of the year 
(Chabas, Le Calendrier des jours fastes et néfastes de l'année égyptienne, pp. 105, 10G). This legend 
was still current in the Greek period (De Iside et Osiride, § xii., Parthey's edition, pp. 19-21). 

1 The impersonal character of Nephthys, her artificial origin, and her derivation from Isis, have 
been pointed out by MAsrEBO (Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 362-361). 
The very name of the goddess, which means the lady (nibît) of the mansion (liait), confirms this 

2 De Iside et Osiride, § 14, 38, Parthey's edition, pp. 21, 25, 67. Another legend has it that Isis, 
and not Nephthys, was the mother of Anubis the jackal (De Iside et Osiride, § 11, Parthey's 
edition, p. 77 ; cf. Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. p. 157). 

3 Plan drawn by Thuillier, from the Description de V Egypte (Atlas, Ant., vol. v. pi. 26, 1). 

4 De Iside et Osiride, § 38, Parthey's edition, p. 66 : "Othv Si vvep&ahwv «ai irKewâo-as 6 NeîAos 
e'TreKeifa 7rÀî}<riacn; rois eVxaTeûoi/cn, tovto /xî^iv'OirlpiSos Trpbs NécpBvv k<x\ovo~iv, viro jûiv àvafïhaaTavévTiDV 
fpvTÛiv ïhtyxoixévnv, 5>v koX to /xeX'iKwrov cerne, ov <pT]o~i /iv8os àwoppvérros «al àiro\ti(p9évTos aïaSvaiv 
ytvlodai Tvtpûvi Tris irepl rbv ydfiov àSiKiois. 



the life-sustaining gods face to face: the history of the world is but the 
story of their rivalries and warfare. 

None of these conceptions alone sufficed to explain the whole mechanism 
of creation, nor the part which the various gods took in it. The priests 
of Heliopolis appropriated them all, modified some of their details and 
eliminated others, added several new personages, and thus finally constructed 


a complete cosmogony, the elements of which were learnedly combined so as to 
correspond severally with the different operations by which the world had been 
evoked out of chaos and gradually brought to its present state. 2 Heliopolis was 
never directly involved in the great revolutions of political history; but no 
city ever originated so many mystic ideas and consequently exercised so great 
an influence upon the development of civilization. 3 It was a small town built 
on the plain not far from the Nile at the apex of the Delta, and surrounded 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Be'atO of a bas-relief in the temple of Scti I. 
at Abydos. The two gods are conducting King Eamses II., here identified with Osiris, towards the 
goddess Hâthor. 

3 Maspero (Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 236, et seq., 352, et seq.) 
first elucidated the part played by the priests of Heliopolis in constructing the cosmogony which 
was adopted by historic Egypt. 

* By its inhabitants it was accounted older than any other city of Egypt (Diodorus, v. 56). 



by a high wall of mud bricks whose remains could still be seen at the beginning 

of the century, but which have now 
almost completely disappeared. One 
obelisk standing in the midst of the 
open plain, a few waste mounds of 
débris, scattered blocks, and two or 
three lengths of crumbling wall, alone 
mark the place where once the city 
stood. 1 Eâ was worshipped there, 
and the Greek name of Heliopolis 
is but the translation of that which 
was given to it by the priests — 
Pi-râ, City of the Sun. 2 Its prin- 
cipal temple, the "Mansion of the 
Prince," 8 rose from about the middle 
of the enclosure, and sheltered, 
together with the god himself, those 
animals in which he became incar- 
nate : the bull Mnevis, and some- 
times the Phoenix. According to 
an old legend, this wondrous bird 
appeared in Egypt only once in five 
hundred years. It is born and lives 
in the depths of Arabia, but when 
its father dies it covers the body 
with a layer of myrrh, and flies 
the sun springing from an opening lotus FLowEB at utmost speed to the temple of 


Heliopolis, there to bury it. 5 In the 
beginning, Kâ was the sun itself, whose fires appear to be lighted every 

1 Lancret and Du Bots Aimé, in the Description d' Héliopolis, in the Description de l'Égypte, 
vol. v. pp. 66, 67. The greater part of the walls and ruins then visible have disappeared, for 
the family of Ibrahim-Pacha, to whom the land belongs, have handed it over to cultivation. 

z Brugsch, Geographische Inschriften, vol. i. p. 254. 

3 Hait Sarû (Brugsch, Dictionnaire Géographique, p. 153, where the author reads Hâl ûra, and 
translates Palace of the Ancient One, Palace of the Old Man, and Lefébure agrees with him, Sur le 
Cham et l'Adam Égyptien, in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. ix. pp. 175, 
176). It was so called because it was supposed to have been the dwelling-place of Eâ while the god 
abode upon earth as King of Egypt (cf. ch. iii. p. 160, et seq.). 

4 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin. The open lotus-flower, with a bud on either side, stands upon the 
usual sign for auy water-basin. Here the sign represents the NÛ, that dark watery abyss from 
which the lotus sprang on the morning of creation, and whereon it is still supposed to bloom. 

5 The Phœnix is not the Bonû (cf. p. 131, note 2), but a fabulous bird derived from the golden 
sparrow-hawk, which was primarily a form of Haroêris, and of the sun-gods in second place only. On 
the authority of his Heliopolitan guides, Herodotus tells us (ii. 83) that in shape and size the phoenix 
resembled the eagle, and this statement alone should have sufficed to prevent any attempt at. 
identifying it with the Bond, which is either a heron or a lapwing. 


morning in the east and to be extinguished at evening in the west ; 1 and to the 
people such he always remained. Among the theologians there was considerable 
difference of opinion on the point. Some held the disk of the sun to be the 
body which the god assumes when presenting himself for the adoration of his 
worshippers. Others affirmed that it rather represented his active and radiant 
soul. Finally, there were many who defined it as one of his forms of being — 
khopriu — one of his self-manifestations, without presuming to decide whether 


it was his body or his soul which he deigned to reveal to human eyes ; but 
whether soul or body, all agreed that the sun's disk had existed in the Nû before 
creation. 3 But how could it have lain beneath the primordial ocean without 
either drying up the waters or being extinguished by them? At this stage the 
identification of Eâ with Horus and his right eye served the purpose of the 
theologians admirably : the god needed only to have closed his eyelid in order to 
prevent his fires from coming in contact with the water. 4 He was also said to have 
shut up his disk within a lotus-bud, whose folded petals had safely protected it. 5 

1 E. de Rouge, Etudes sur le Rituel funéraire des anciens Egyptiens, p. 76. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a water-colour published by Lefsius, Denkm., i. 56. The view is 
taken from the midst of the ruins at the foot of the obelisk of Ûsirtasen. A little stream runs in the 
foreground, and passes through a muddy pool ; to right and left are mounds of ruins, which were then 
considerable, but have since been partially razed. In the distance Cairo rises against the south-west. / 

3 Boole of the Dead, ch. xvii., Naviixe's edition, 1. 3, et seq. 

4 This is clearly implied in the expression so often used by the sacred writers of Ancient Egypt 
in reference to the appearance of the sun and his first act at the time of creation : " Thou openest 
the two eyes and earth is flooded with rays of light." 

* Mariette, Dendfrah, vol. i. pl. 1 v. a ; Bbugsch, Thesaurus Liscriptionum Mgyptiacarum, p. 764, No.56. 



The flower had opened on the morning of the first day, and from it the god had 
sprung suddenly as a child wearing the solar disk upon his head. But all theories 

led the theologians to dis- 
tinguish two periods, and 
as it were two beings in the 
existence of supreme deity : 
a pre-mundane sun lying 
inert within the bosom of 
the dark waters, and our 
living and life-giving sun. 1 
One division of the He- 
liopolitan school retained 
the use of traditional terms 
and images in reference to 
these Sun-gods. To the 
first it left the human form, 
and the title of Râ, with the 
abstract sense of creator, 
deriving the name from the 
verb râ, which means to give. 3 For the second it kept the form of the sparrow- 
hawk and the name of Harmakhuîti — Horus in the two horizons — which 
clearly denoted his function ; 4 and it summed up the idea of the sun as a 
whole in the single name of Râ-Harmakhûîti, and in a single image in 
which the hawk-head of Horus was grafted upon the human body of Râ. The 
other divisions of the school invented new names for new conceptions. The 
sun existing before the world they called Creator — Tûmû, Atûmû 5 — and our 
earthly sun they called Kliopri—He who is. Tûmû was a man crowned 

1 Maspero, Éludes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 281, et seq., 35G, et seq. 

2 Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Insinger of an outer wall of the Hypostyle Hall at 
Karnak. Harrnakhis grants years and festivals to the Pharaoh Seti I., who kneels before him, and 
is presented by the lioness-headed goddess Sokhît, here described as a magician — Oirît hihaû. 

3 This manufactured etymology was accepted by at least a section of Egyptian theologians, as 
is proved by their interminable playing upon tbe words Râ, the name of the sun, and râ, the verb 
to give, to malce. As regards the weight to be attached to it, see p. 88, note 1. 

* Harmakhûîti is Horus, the sky of the two horizons; i.e. the sky of the daytime, and tbe night 
sky. When the celestial Horus was confounded with Râ, and became the sun (cf. p. 100), he 
naturally also became the sun of the two horizons, the sun by day, and the sun by night. 

6 E. de Rouge, Études sur le Rituel funéraire, p. 76 : " His name may be connected with two 
radicals. Tern is a negation ; it may be taken to mean the Inapproachable One, the Unknown (as in 
Thebes, where Amûn means mystery). Atùm is, in fact, described as 'existing alone in the abyss,' 
beforo the appearance of light. It was in this time of darkness that Atum performed the lirst act of 
creation, and this allows of our also connecting his name with the Coptic tamio, creare. Alûni was 
also the prototype of man (in Coptic the, homo), and becomes a perfect ' turn ' after his resurrection." 
Brdgsch (Religion und Mythologie, pp. 231, 232) would rather explain Tûmû as meaning the Perfect One, 
the Complete. E. de Rouge's philological derivations are no longer admissible ; but his explanation of the 
name corresponds so well with the part played by the god that I fail to see how that can be challenged 


ATÛMÎf. 130 

and clothed with the insignia of supreme power, a true king of gods, 
majestic and impassive as the Pharaohs who succeeded each other upon 
the throne of Egypt. The conception of Khopri as a disk enclosing a 
scarabaeus, or a man with a scarabaeus upon his head, or a scaraba?us- 
headed mummy, was sug- 
gested by the accidental 
alliteration of his name 
and that of Khopirrû, the 
scarabœus. The difference 
between the possible forms 
of the god was so slight as 
to be eventually lost alto- 
gether. His names were 
grouped by twos and threes 
in every conceivable way, 
and the scarabaous of 
Khopri took its place upon 
the head of Râ, while the 
hawk headpiece was trans- 
ferred from the shoulders khopri, the scarab/eus god, in his bark. 
of Harmakhûîti to those of 

Tûmû. The complex beings resulting from these combinations, Râ-Tûmû, 
Atûmîi-Râ, Râ-Tûmû-Khopri, Râ-Harniakhûîti-Tûmû, Tûm-Harmakhûîti- 
Khopri, never attained to any pronounced individuality. They were as a rule 
simple duplicates of the feudal god, names rather than persons, and though 
hardly taken for one another indiscriminately, the distinctions between them, 
had reference to mere details of their functions and attributes. Hence arose 
the idea of making these gods into embodiments of the main phases in 
the life of the sun during the day and throughout the year. Râ symbolized 
the sun of springtime and before sunrise, Harmakhûîti the summer and the 
morning sun, Atûmû the sun of autumn and of afternoon, Khopri that of 
winter and of night. 1 The people of Heliopolis accepted the new names and 
the new forms presented for their worship, but always subordinated them 
to their beloved Râ. For them Râ never ceased to be the god of the 
nome ; while Atûmû remained the god of the theologians, and was invoked by 
them, the people preferred Râ. At Thinis and at Sebennytos Anhûri incurred 
the same fate as befell Râ at Heliopolis. After he had been identified 

1 An exhaustive study of these theological combinations has been made by Brugsch (Religion 
und Mythologie, pp. 231-280) with great care and sagacity, and with special reference to inscriptions 
from temples of the Ptolemaic and Eoman periods. Unfortunately Brugsch has attributed to these 
temple speculations an importance which they never held in popular estimation. 



with the sun, the similar identification of Shû inevitably followed. Of old, 
Anhûri and Shû were twin gods, incarnations of sky and earth. They were 
soon but one god in two persons — the god Anhûri-Shû, of which the one 
half under the title of Anhûri represented, like Atûmû, the primordial 
being; and Shû, the other half, became, as his name indicates, the creative 
sun-god who upholds (shû) the sky. 1 

Tûmû then, rather than Eâ, was placed by the Heliopolitan priests at 
the head of their cosmogony as supreme creator and governor. Several 
versions were current as to how he had passed from inertia into action, from 
the personage of Tûmû into that of Eâ. According to the version most widely 
received, he had suddenly cried across the waters, " Come unto me ! " 2 and 
immediately the mysterious lotus had unfolded its petals, and Eâ had appeared 
at the edge of its open cup as a disk, a newborn child, or a disk-crowned 
sparrow-hawk ; 3 this was probably a refined form of a ruder and earlier 
tradition, according to which it was upon Eâ himself that the office had 
devolved of separating Sibû from Nûît, for the purpose of constructing the 
heavens and the earth. But it was doubtless felt that so unseemly an act of 
intervention was beneath the dignity even of an inferior form of the suzerain 
god ; Shû was therefore borrowed for the purpose from the kindred cult of 
Anhûri, and at Heliopolis, as at Sebennytos, the office was entrusted to him 
of seizing the sky-goddess aud raising her with outstretched arms. The 
violence suffered by Nûît at the hands of Shû led to a connexion of the Osirian 
dogma of Mendes with the solar dogma of Sebennytos, and thus the tradition 
describing the creation of the world was completed by another, explaining its 
division into deserts and fertile lands. Sîbû, hitherto concealed beneath the 
body of his wife, was now exposed to the sun ; Osiris and Sit, Isis and Nephthys, 
were born, and, falling from the sky, their mother, on to the earth, their father, 
they shared the surface of the latter among themselves. Thus the Heliopolitan 
doctrine recognized three principal events in the creation of the universe : the 
dualization of the supreme god and the breaking forth of light, the raising 
of the sky and the laying bare of the earth, the birth of the Nile and the 
allotment of the soil of Egypt, all expressed as the manifestations of successive 
deities. 4 Of these deities, the latter ones already constituted a family of 

1 Maspeiîo, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 282, 35G, 357. 

2 It was on this account that the Egyptians named the first day of the year the Day of Come-unto- 
me! (E. de Bougé, Études sur le Rituel funéraire des anciens Égyptiens, pp. 54, 55). In ch. xvii. of 
the Book of the Dead, Osiris takes the place of Tûmû as the creator-god. 

3 See the illustration on p. 130, which represents the infant sun-god springing from the opening 

4 On the formation of the Heliopolitan Ennead, see Maspeeo, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie 
Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 244, et seq., 352, et seq. Brtjgsch's solution and version of the composition, 
derivation, and history of this Eunead is entirely different from mine (Religion und Mythologie der 
alien Egypter, p. 183, et seq.). 



father, mother, and children, like human families. Learned theologians 
availed themselves of this example to effect analogous relationships between 
the rest of the gods, combining them all into one line of descent. As Atiimû- 
Eâ could have no fellow, he stood apart in the first rank, and it was decided 
that Sim should be his son, whom he had formed out of himself alone, on the 
first day of creation, by the 
simple intensity of his own BÈ'j/t 
virile energy. Shû, reduced 
to the position of divine son, 
had in his turn begotten Sibii 
and Nûît, the two deities 
which he separated. Until 
then he had not been sup- 
posed to have any wife, and 
he also might have himself 
brought his own progeny into 3UE TWlN U0NSj suû AND TAFXÛÎT .i 

being ; but lest a power of 

spontaneous generation equal to that of the demiurge should be ascribed to 
him, he was married, and the wife found for him was Tafnûît, his twin sister, 
born in the same way as he was born. This goddess, invented for the occasion, 
was never fully alive, and remained, like Nephthys, a theological entity rather 
than a real person. The texts describe her as the pale reflex of her husband. 
Together with him she upholds the sky, and every morning receives the 
newborn sun as it emerges from the mountain of the east; she is a lionness 
when Shû. is a lion, a woman when he is a man, a lioness-headed woman if 
he is a lion-headed man ; she is angry when he is angry, appeased when he 
is appeased ; she has no sanctuary wherein he is not worshipped. In short, 
the pair made one being in two bodies, or, to use the Egyptian expression, 
" one soul in its two twin bodies." 2 

Hence we see that the Heliopolitans proclaimed the creation to be the work 
of the sun-god, Atûmû-Eâ, and of the four pairs of deities who were descended 
from him. It was really a learned variant of the old doctrine 3 that the 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Guiliu from a vignette in the papyrus of Ani in the British Museum, 
published by Lepage-Rexouf in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, vol. xi., 
1889-90, pp. 20-28. The inscription above the lion on the right reads safû, "yesterday ; " the other, 
dûaû, " this morning." 

2 Book of the Dead, ch. xvii. 1. 154, et seq. (Naville's edition, vol. i. pi. xxiv.). For the part 
played by Tafnît or Tafnûît with regard to Shû, see Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie 
Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 247, 248, 357 ; and Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie, pp. 571-575. In 
M. Lepage-Renouf, Shû and Tafuûît are the Dawn-god, or, more exactly, two, the god and the 
goddess of the Dawn (Egyptian Mythology, particularly with reference to Mist and Cloud, in the 
Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archeology, vol. viii. p. 206, et seq.). 

3 See pp. 80, 8?, 128, 129, for some ancient variants of this doctrine. 



universe was composed of a sky-god, Horus, supported by bis four children 
and their four pillars : in fact, the four sons of the Heliopolitan cosmogony, 
Shû and Sibû, Osiris and Sit, were occasionally substituted for the four older 
gods of the "houses" of the world. This being premised, attention must be 
given to the important differences between the two systems. At the outset, 
instead of appearing contemporaneously upon the scene, like the four children 
of Horus, the four Heliopolitan gods were deduced one from another, and 
succeeded each other in the order of their birth. They had not that 
uniform attribute of supporter, associating them always with one definite 
function, but each of them felt himself endowed with faculties and armed 
with special powers required by his condition. Ultimately they took to 
themselves goddesses, and thus the total number of beings working in 
different ways at the organization of the universe was brought up to nine. 
Hence they were called by the collective name of the Ennead, the Nine gods — 
paûît mïtîrû, 1 — and the god at their head was entitled Paûîti, the god of the 
Ennead. When creation was completed, its continued existence was ensured by 
countless agencies with whose operation the persons of the Ennead were not at 
leisure to concern themselves, but had ordained auxiliaries to preside over each 
of the functions essential to the regular and continued working of all things. 
The theologians of Heliopolis selected eighteen from among the innumer- 
able divinities of the feudal cults of Egypt, and of these they formed two 
secondary Enneads, who were regarded as the offspring of the Ennead of the 
creation. The first of the two secondary Enneads, generally known as the 
Minor Ennead, recognized as chief Harsiesis, the son of Osiris. Harsiesis was 
originally an earth-god who had avenged the assassination of his father and 
the banishment of his mother by Sit ; that is, he had restored fulness to the 
Nile and fertility to the Delta. When Harsiesis was incorporated into the solar 
religions of Heliopolis, his filiation was left undisturbed as being a natural link 

1 The first Egyptologists confounded the sign used in writing paûît with the sign Ich, and the 
word Ichet, other (Ciiampollion, Grammaire Égyptienne, pp. 292, 320, 331, 404, etc.). E. de Rougé 
was the first to determine its phonetic value: "it should be read Pan, and designates a body of 
gods." (Letter from E. de Bougé, June, 1852, published by F. Lajard, Recherches sur le Cyprès 
Pyramidal, in the Mémoires de V Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. xx. 2nd part, p. 176.) 
Shortly afterwards Brugsch proved that "the group of gods invoked by 13. de Bouge' must have consisted 
of nine " — of an Ennead ( Ueber die Hieroglyph des Neumondes und Hire verschiedenen Bedeutungen, in 
the Zeitschrift der Morg. G., vol. x. p. 668, et seq.). This explanation was not at first admitted either 
by Lepsius (Ueber die Goiter der Vier Elemente bei den JEgyptef) or by Mariette, who had proposed 
a mystic interpretation of the word in his Mémoire sur la mère d'Apis (pp. 25-36), or by E. de Bougé 
(Études sur le Rituel funéraire, p. 43), or by Chabas (Une Inscription historique du règne de Séli 1 er , 
p. 37, and Un Hymne à Osiris in the Revue Archéologique, 1st series, vol. xiv. pp. 198-200). The 
interpretation a Nine, an Ennead, was not frankly adopted until later (Maspero, Mémoires sur quelques 
Papyrus du Louvre, pp. 94, 95), and more especially after the discovery of the Pyramid texts 
(Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum Mgyptiacarum, p. 707, et seq.) ; to-day, it is the only meaning 
admitted. Of course the Egyptian Ennead has no other connection than that of name with the 
Enneads of the Neo-Platonists. 



Our knowledge 


between the two Eimeads, but his personality was brought into conformity with 
the new surroundings into which he was transplanted. He was identified with 
Kâ through the intervention of the older Horus, Haroêris-Harmakhis, and 
the Minor Eunead, like the Great Ennead, began with a sun-god. This assimi- 
lation was not pushed so far as to invest the youuger Horus with the same 
powers as his fictitious ancestor : he was the sun of earth, the everyday sun, 
while Atûmû-Râ was still the sun pre-mundane and eternal, 
of the eight other deities of 
the Minor Ennead is very 
imperfect. We see only that 
these were the gods who 
chiefly protected the sun-god 
against its enemies and helped 
it to follow its regular course. 
Thus Harhûditi, the Horus of 
Edfû, spear in hand, pursues 
the hippopotami or serpents 
which haunt the celestial waters and menace the god. The progress of 
the Sun-bark is controlled by the incantations of Thot, while Uapûaîtû, 
the dual jackal-god of Siût, guides, and occasionally tows it along the 
sky from south to north. The third Ennead would seem to have included 
among its members Anubis the jackal, and the four funerary genii, the 
children of Horus — Hapi, Amsît, Tiûmaûtf, Kabhsonûf ; it further appears 
as though its office was the care and defence of the dead sun, the sun 
by night, as the second Ennead had charge of the living sun. Its functions 
were so obscure and apparently so insignificant as compared with those 
' exercised by the other Enneads, that the theologians did not take the 
trouble either to represent it or to enumerate its persons. They invoked 
it as a whole, after the two others, in those formulas in which they 
called into play all the creative and preservative forces of the universe ; 
but this was rather as a matter of conscience and from love of precision 
than out of any true deference. At the initial impulse of the lord of 
Heliopolis, the three combined Enneads started the world and kept it going, 
and gods whom they had not incorporated were either enemies to be fought 
with, or mere attendants. 2 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from 'Wilkinson's Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. p. 221, 
pi. xlviii. 

- The little winch we know of the two secondary Enneads of Heliopolis has been put together 
by Maspeiîo, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 2S9, et seq., 353, 351, 
371, 372. 


The doctrine of the Heliopolitan Ennead acquired an immediate and a last- 
ing popularity. It presented such a clear scheme of creation, and one whose 
organization was so thoroughly in accordance with the spirit of tradition, that the 

various sacerdotal colleges 
adopted it one after another, 
accommodating it to the 
exigencies of local patriot- 
ism. Each placed its own 
nome-god at the head of the 
Ennead as "god of the 
Nine," "god of the first 
time," creator of heaven 
and earth, sovereign ruler 
of men, and lord of all 
action. As there was the 
Ennead of Atûinû at Helio- 
polis, so there was that of 
Anhûri at Thinis and at 
Sehennytos; that of Minû 
at Coptos and at Panopolis; 
that of Haroêris at Edfu ; 
that of Sobkhû at Ombos ; 
and, later, that of Phtah 
at Memphis and of Amon 
at Thebes. 2 Nomes which 
worshipped a goddess had no scruples whatever in ascribing to her the part 
played by Atiïmû, and in crediting her with the spontaneous maternity of Shu 
and Tafuûît. Nît was the source and ruler of the Ennead of Saïs, Isis of that 
of Bûto, and Hâthor of that of Denderah. 3 Few of the sacerdotal colleges 
went beyond the substitution of their own feudal gods for Atûrnû. Provided 
that the god of each nome held the rank of supreme lord, the rest mattered 
little, and the local theologians made no change in the order of the other 
agents of creation, their vanity being unhurt even by the lower offices assigned 
by the Heliopolitan tradition to such powers as Osiris, Sibû, and Sit, who were 

1 Plan drawn by Thuillicr, from the Description de l'Égypte, Ant., vol. iv. pi. 50. 

2 The Ennead of Phtah, and that of Amon, who was replaced by Montû in later times, are the 
two Enneads of which we have as yet the greatest number of examples (Lepsius, Ueber den Ersten 
JEgyptischen Gôtterhreis, pis. i.-iii. ; Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum, pp. 727-730). 

3 On the Ennead of Hâthor at Denderah, see Mariette, Denderah, p. 80, et seq., of the text. The fact 
that Nît, Isis, and, generally speaking, all the feudal goddesses, were the chiefs of their local Enneads, 
is proved by the epithets applied to them, which represent them as having independent creative power 
by virtue of their own unaided force and energy, like the god at the head of the Heliopolitan Ennead. 



known and worshipped throughout the whole country. The theologians of 
Hermopolis alone declined to borrow the new system 
just as it stood ; and in all its parts. Hermopolis 
had always been one of the ruling cities of Middle 
Egypt. Standing alone in the midst of the land 
lying between the Eastern and Western Niles, it 
had established upon each of the two great arms of 
the river a port and a custom-house, where all 
boats travelling either up or down stream paid 
toll on passing. Not only the corn and natural 
products of the valley and of the Delta, but also goods from distant parts 
of Africa brought to Siût by Soudanese caravans, 3 
helped to fill the treasury of Hermopolis. Thot, the 
god of the city, represented as ibis or baboon, was 
essentially a moon-god, who measured time, counted 
the days, numbered the months, and recorded the 
years. 3 Lunar divinities, as we know, are everywhere 



supposed to exercise the most varied powers : they 
command the mysterious forces of the universe ; 
they know the sounds, words, and gestures by 
which those forces are put in motion, and not 
content with using them for their own benefit, 
they also teach to their worshippers the art of ' 
employing them. Thot formed no exception to 
this rule. He was lord of the voice, master of 
words and of books, possessor or inventor of those magic writings which 
nothing in heaven, on earth, or in Hades can withstand. 5 He had discovered 
the incantations which evoke and control the gods ; he had transcribed the 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudiu from an enamelled pottery figure from Coptos, now in my possession. 
Neck, feet, and tail are in blue enamel, the rest is in green. The little personage represented as 
squatting beneath the beak is Mâit, the goddess of truth, and the ally of Thot. The ibis was 
furnished witli a ring for suspending it; this lias been broken off, but traces of it may still be seen 
at the back of the head. 

! On the custom-houses of Hermopolis and why they were established, see Maspero, Notes au jour 
le jour, % 19, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 1891-92, vol. xiv. pp. 196-202. 

3 The name of Thot, Zehûti, Tehûti, seems to mean — he who belongs to the bird Zehû, Tehû ; lie 
who is the ibis, or belongs to the divine ibis (Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie, p. 440). 

4 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a green enamelled pottery figure in my possession (Saïte period). 

5 Cf. in the tale of Satni (MASrERO, Contes populaires de l'Ancienne Égypte, 2nd edit., p. 175) the 
description of " the book which Thot has himself written with his own hand," and which makes its 
possessor the equal of the gods. " The two formulas which are written therein, if thou recitest the 
first thou shalt charm heaven, earth, Hades, the mountains, the waters ; thou shalt know the birds 
of the sky and the reptiles, how many soever they be ; thou shalt see the fish of the deep, for a 
divine power will cause them to rise to the surface of the water. If thou readest the second formula, 
even although thou shouldest be in the tomb, thou shalt again take the form which was thine upon 



texts and noted the melodies of these incantations ; he recited them with that 
true intonation — mâ Jchrôâ — which renders them all-powerful, and every one, 
whether god or man, to whom he imparted them, and whose voice he made true 
— smâ hhrôû — became like himself master of the universe. 1 He had accom- 
plished the creation not by muscular effort to which the rest of the cosmogonical 
gods primarily owed their birth, but by means of formulas, or even of the voice 
alone, " the first time " when he awoke in the Nû. In fact, the articulate 
word and the voice were believed to be the most potent of creative forces, 
not remaining immaterial on issuing from the lips, but condensing, so to speak, 
into tangible substances ; into bodies which were themselves animated by 
creative life and energy ; into gods and goddesses who lived or who created 
in their turn. By a very short phrase Tûmû had called forth the gods 
who order all things ; for his " Come unto me ! " uttered with a loud voice 
upon the day of creation, had evoked the sun from within the lotus. 2 Thot 
had opened his lips, and the voice which proceeded from him had become an 
entity ; sound had solidified into matter, and by a simple emission of voice 
the four gods who preside over the four houses of the world had come forth 
alive from his mouth without bodily effort on his part, and without spoken 
evocation. Creation by the voice is almost as great a refinement of thought 
as the substitution of creation by the word for creation by muscular effort. 
In fact, sound bears the same relation to words that the whistle of a quarter- 
master bears to orders for the navigation of a ship transmitted by a speaking 
trumpet; it simplifies speech, reducing it as it were to a pure abstraction. 
At first it was believed that the creator had made the world with a word, then 
that he had made it by sound ; but the further conception of his having made 
it by thought does not seem to have occurred to the theologians. 3 It was 
narrated at Hermopolis, and the legend was ultimately universally accepted, 
even by the Ileliopolitans, that the separation of Nûît and Sibû had taken 
place at a certain spot on the site of the city where Sibû had ascended the 
mound on which the feudal temple was afterwards built, in order that he 
might better sustain the goddess and uphold the sky at the proper height. 4 

earth ; thou shalt even see the sun rising in heaven, and his cycle of gods, and the moon in the form 
wherein it appeareth." 

1 For the interpretation of these expressions, see Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie 
Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 93-1 14. 

- See the account of this mythological episode on p. 140, and also the illustration on p. 137, 
which represents the Sun-god as a child emerging from the opened lotus. 

3 The theory of creation by voice was first set forth by Maspero, Creation by the Voice and the 
Ennead of Hermopolis (in the Oriental Quarterly Review, 2nd series, vol. iii. p. 365, et seq.), and 
Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 372, et seq. 

* Booh of the Dead (Naville's edition, pl. xxiii.), ch. xvii. 1. 3, et seq. Other texts also state that 
it was in the Hermopolite nome that " light began when thy father Kâ rose from the lotus ; " Dumichen, 
Geographische Inschriften, vol. i. (iii. of the Recueil de Monuments), pl. lv. 11. 2, 3 ; cf. pl. xcvi. 1. 21. 



The conception of a Creative Council of five gods had so far prevailed at 
Hermopolis that from this fact the city had received in remote antiquity the 
name of the " House of the Five; " its temple was called the "Abode of the 
Five " down to a late period in Egyptian history, and its prince, who was the 
hereditary high priest of Thot, reckoned as the first of his official titles that 
of " Great One of the House of the Five." 1 

The four couples who had helped Atûniû were identified with the four 
auxiliary gods of Thot, and changed the council of Five into a Great 
Hermopolitan Ennead, but at the cost of strange metamorphoses. 2 However 
artificially they had been grouped about Atûmû, they had all preserved such 
distinctive characteristics as prevented their being confounded one with another. 
When the universe which they had helped to build up was finally seen to 
be the result of various operations demanding a considerable manifestation of 
physical energy, each god was required to preserve the individuality neces- 
sary for the production of such effects as were expected of him. They could 
not have existed and carried on their work without conforming to the 
ordinary conditions of humanity ; being born one of another, they were bound 
to have paired with living goddesses as capable of bringing forth their 
children as they were of begetting them. On the other hand, the four 
auxiliary gods of Hermopolis exercised but one means of action — the voice. 
Having themselves come forth from the master's mouth, it was by voice 
that they created and perpetuated the world. Apparently they could have 
done without goddesses had marriage not been imposed upon them by their 
identification with the corresponding gods of the Heliopolitan Ennead ; at 
any rate, their wives had but a show of life, almost destitute of reality. As 
these four gods worked after the manner of their master, Thot, so they also 
bore his form and reigned along with him as so many baboons. When 
associated with the lord of Hermopolis, the eight divinities of Heliopolis 
assumed the character and the appearance of the four Hermopolitan gods 
in whom they were merged. They were often represented as eight baboons 
surrounding the supreme baboon, 3 or as four pairs of gods and goddesses 

1 E. be Rougé, Recherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynastie* 
de Manéthon, p. 62 ; Beugsch, Dictionnaire Géographique, p. 962. In the Harris M»gic Papyrus 
(pl. iii. 11. 5, 6, Chabas' edition, p. 53) they are called " these five gods . . . who are neither in 
heaven nor upon earth, and who are not lighted by the sun." For the cosmogonioal conception, 
implied by these Hermopolitan titles, see Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie 
Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 259-261, 381. 

The relation of the Eight to the Ennead and the god One has been pointed out by Maspero 
{Mémoire sur quelques Papyrus du Louvre, pp. 94, 95), as also the formation and character of the 
Hermopolitan Ennead {Éludes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 257-261, 

3 W. Golénichefp, Die Metternichslele, pl. i., where apes are adoring the solar disk in his bark. 
This scene is common on hypocephali found under the heads of Grœco-Roman mummies. 



without either characteristic attributes or features; 1 or, finally, as four pairs of 
gods and goddesses, the gods being frog-headed men, and the goddesses 


serpent-headed women. 3 Morning and evening do they sing ; and the mysterious 

1 Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia Egizia, pi. xii. 

: Drawn by Faucher-Gudiu from a photograph by Béato. Cf. Lefsius, Denim., iv. pi. 66 c. In 
this illustration I have combined the two extremities of a great scene at Philœ, in which the Eight, 
divided into two groups of four, take part in the adoration of the king. According to a custom 
common towards the Grseco-Koman period, the sculptor has made the feet of his gods like jackals' 
heads ; it is a way of realizing the well-known metaphor which compares a rapid runner to the 
jackal roaming around Egypt. 

3 Lefsius, Denltm., iv. 66 c; Mariette, Dériderait, vol. iv. pi. 70; Champollion. Monuments de 



hymns wherewith they salute the rising and the setting sun ensure the 
continuity of his course. Their names did not survive their metamorphoses : 
each pair had no longer more than a single name, the termi- 
nation of each name varying according as a god or a goddess was 
intended : — Nû and Nûît, Hehû and Hehît, Kakû and Kalût, 
Ninû and Ninît. As far as we are able to judge, the couple 
Nû-Nûît answers to Shû-Tafnûît ; Hahû-Hehît to Sibû and 
Nûît; Kakû-Kakît to Osiris and Isis ; Ninû-Ninît to Sit 
and Nephthys. There was seldom any occasion to invoke 
them separately ; they were addressed collectively as the Eight 
— Khmûnû 1 — and it was on their account that Hermopolis 
was named Khmûnû, the City of the Eight. 2 Ultimately 
they were deprived of the little individual life still left to 
them, and were fused into a single being to whom the 
texts refer as Khomninû, the god Eight. By degrees the 
Ennead of Thot was thus reduced to two terms : the god 
One and the god Eight, the Monad and the Ogdoad. The 
latter had scarcely more than a theoretical existence, and 
was generally absorbed into the person of the former. Thus 
the theologians of Hermopolis gradually disengaged the unity 
of their feudal god from the multiplicity of the cosmogonie 
deities. 3 

As the sacerdotal colleges had adopted the Heliopolitan 
doctrine, so they now generally adopted that of Hermo- 
polis : Amon, for instance, being made to preside indif- 
ferently over the eight baboons and over the four inde- 
pendent couples of the primitive Ennead. 5 In both cases the process of 
adaptation was absolutely identical, and would have been attended by no 

l'Égypte, pl. exxx. Their individual value has been and still is a subject of discussion. LErsius 
first tried to show in a special memoir (Ueber die Gutter der tier Elemente bci den JSgyplerh, 185G) that 
they were the gods of the four elements ; Dumichen looks upon the four couples as being severally 
Primitive Matter, Primitive Space, Primitive Time, Primitive Force (Geschichte JEgyptens, p. 210, et 
seq.); Brugsch {Religion und Mythologie, p. 123, et seq.) prefers to consider them as representing 
the primordial Waters, Eternity, Darkness, and the primordial Inertia. 

1 The name was long read Sesûnû, after Champollion; Bhugsch discovered its true pronunciation 
{Iteise nach der Grossen Oaxc el Khargeh, p. 34 ; cf. Ueber die Aussprache einiger Zahhvorter im 
Allugyptischen, in the Zeitschrift, 1874, pp. 145-147). 

2 Whence its modern name of El- Ashmûneïu ; cf. Brugsch, Dictionnaire Géographique, pp. 749-751. 

3 Maspeuo, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 3S3, et seq., where this 
aspect of the Hermopolitan Ennead was first pointed out. 

4 Drawn by Faucher-Gudiu from a bronze statuette found at Thebes, and now in my possession. 

5 In a bas-relief at Phila), Anion presides over the Hermopolitan Ennead (Lepsius, Denhm., iv. 
CG c) ; it is to him that the eight baboons address their hymns in the Harris Magic Papyrus (pi. iii. 
1. G, et seq. ; Cuaras' edition, pp. 60, 69), beseeching him to come to the help of the magicians. 



difficulty whatever, had the divinities to whom it was applied only been 
without family ; in that case, the one needful change for each city would 
have been that of a single name in the Heliopolitan list, thus leaving 
the number of the Enuead unaltered. But since these deities had been 
turned into triads they could no longer be primarily regarded as simple 
units, to be combined with the elements of some one or other of the Enneads 
without preliminary arrangement. The two companions whom each had 
chosen had to be adopted also, and the single Thot, or single Atûmû, 
replaced by the three patrons of the nome, thus changing the traditional 
nine into eleven. Happily, the constitution of the triad lent itself to all 
these adaptations. We have seen that the father and the son became one and 
the same personage, whenever it was thought desirable. We also know that 
one of the two parents always so far predominated as almost to efface the other. 


Sometimes it was the goddess who disappeared behind her husband ; sometimes 
it was the god whose existence merely served to account for the offspring of the 
goddess, and whose only title to his position consisted in the fact that he was 
her husband. 2 Two personages thus closely connected were not long in blend- 
ing into one, and were soon defined as being two faces, the masculine and 
feminine aspects of a single being. On the one hand, the father was one with 
the son, and on the other he was one with the mother. Hence the mother 
was one with the son as with the father, and the three gods of the triad were 
resolved into one god in three persons. Thanks to this subterfuge, to 
put a triad at the head of an Ennead was nothing more than a roundabout 
way of placing a single god there : the three persons only counted as one, 
and the eleven names only amounted to the nine canonical divinities. Thus, 
the Theban Ennead of Amon-Maut-Khonsû, Shû, Tafnûît, Sibû, Nûît, Osiris, 
Isis, Sit, and Nephthys, is, in spite of its apparent irregularity, as correct as 
the typical Ennead itself. In such Enneads Isis is duplicated by goddesses of 

1 This Ennead consists of fourteen members — Montû, duplicating Atûmû ; the four usual couplée ; 
then Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, together with his associate deities, Hâthor, Tanu, and Anît. 

2 See the explanation of this fact on pp. 104-107. 



like nature, such as Hâthor, Selkît, Taninît, and yet remains but one, while 
Osiris brings in bis son Horus, who gathers about himself all such gods as 
play the part of divine son in other triads. The theologians bad various 
methods of procedure for keeping the number of persons in an Ennead at 
nine, no matter bow many they might choose to embrace in it. 1 Super- 
numeraries were thrown in like the " shadows " at Eoman suppers, whom guests 
would bring without warning to their host, and whose presence made not the 
slightest difference either in the provision for the feast, or in the arrange- 
ments for those who had been formally invited. 

Thus remodelled at all points, the Ennead of Heliopolis was readily 
adjustable to sacerdotal caprices, and even profited by the facilities which 
the triad afforded for its natural expansion. In time the Heliopolitan version 
of the origin of Shû-Tafnûît must have appeared too primitively barbarous. 
Allowing for the licence of the Egyptians during Pharaonic times, the 
concept of the spontaneous emission whereby Atûmû had produced his twin 
children was characterized by a superfluity of coarseness which it was at 
least unnecessary to employ, since by placing the god in a triad, this double 
birth could be duly explained in conformity with the ordinary laws of life. 
The solitary Atûmû of the more ancient dogma gave place to Atûmû the 
husband and father. He bad, indeed, two wives, Iûsâsît and Nebthotpit, but 
their individualities were so feebly marked that no one took the trouble to 
choose between them ; each passed as the mother of Shû and Tafnûît. 1 This 
system of combination, so puerile in its ingenuity, was fraught with the 
gravest consequences to the history of Egyptian religions. Shû having been 
transformed into the divine son of the Heliopolitan triad, could henceforth be 
assimilated with the divine sons of all those triads which took the place of 
Tûmû at the heads of provincial Enneads. Thus we find that Horus the son 
of Isis at Bûto, Arihosnofir the son of Nit at Saïs, Khnûmû the son of Hâthor 
at Esneh, were each in turn identified with Shû the son of Atûmû, and lost 
their individualities in his. Sooner or later this was bound to result in bringing 
all the triads closer together, and in their absorption into one another. Through 
constant reiteration of the statement that the divine sons of the triads were 
identical with Shû, as being in the second rank of the Ennead, the idea arose 
that this was also the case in triads unconnected with Enneads ; in other terms, 
that the third person in any family of gods was everywhere and always Shû 

1 Many examples of these irregular Enneads were first collected by Lepsius (JJeber den ersten 
JEgyptischen Gotterkreis, pis. i.-iv.), and later by Beugsch (Thesaurus Inscriptionum JEgyptiacarwm, 
pp 724-730), and they were explained as they are here explained by Maspeko (Études de Mythologie 
et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 245, 246). The best translation which could then be given 
of paûît was cycle, the cycle of the gods ; but this did not specify the number. 



under a different name. It having been finally admitted in the sacerdotal 
colleges that Tûmû and Shu, father and son, were one, all the divine sons were, 
therefore, identical with Tûmû, the father of Shu, and as each divine son was 
one with his parents, it inevitably followed that these parents themselves were 
identical with Tûmû. Keasoning in this way, the Egyptians naturally tended 
towards that conception of the divine oneness to which the theory of the 
Hermopolitan Ogdoad was already leading them. In fact, they reached it, 
and the monuments show us that in comparatively early times the theologians 
were busy uniting in a single person the prerogatives which their ancestors 
had ascribed to many different beings. But this conception of deity towards 
which their ideas were converging has nothing in common with the conception 
of the God of our modern religions and philosophies. No god of the 
Egyptians was ever spoken of simply as God. Tûmû was the " one and only 
£od " — nûtir M/à ûâîii — at Heliopolis ; Anhûri-Shû was also the " one and only 
god " at Sebennytos and at Thinis. The unity of Atûmû did not interfere 
with that of Anhûri-Shû, but each of these gods, although the " sole " deity 
in his own domain, ceased to be so in the domain of the other. The feudal 
spirit, always alert and jealous, prevented the higher dogma which was dimly 
apprehended in the temples from triumphing over local religions and extending 
over the whole land. Egypt had as many " sole " deities as she had large 
cities, or even important temples ; she never accepted the idea of the sole 
God, " beside whom there is none other." 



The Egyptians claim to be the most ancient of peoples: traditions concerning the creation of 
man and of animals — The Heliopolitan Enneads the framework of the divine dynasties — Râ, the 
first King of Egypt, and his fabulons history: he allows himself to be duped and robbed by Isis, 
destroys rebellious men, and ascends into heaven. 

The legend of S! nl and Sibil — The reign of Osiris Onnophris and of Isis : they civilize Egypt 
and the world — Osiris, slain by Sit, is entombed by Isis and avenged by HoTUS — The wars of 
Typhon and of Horns : peace, and the division of Egypt between the two gods. 

The Osirian embalmment: the kingdom of Osiris opened to the followers of Horns — The Book 
of the Bead — The journeying of the soul in search of the fields of Iahl- The judgment of the 
soul, the negative confession — The privileges and duties of Osirian soids — Confusion between 
Osirian and Solar ideas as to the state of the dead : the dead in the bark of the Sun — The 
going forth by day — The campaigns of Harmakhis against SU. 

Thot, the inventor: he reveals all sciences to men — Astronomy, stellar tables; the year, its 
subdivisions, its defects, influence of the heavenly bodies and the days upon human destiny — 
Magic arts: incantations, amulets — Medicine: the vitalizing spirits, diagnosis, treatment — 
Writing: ideographic, syllabic, alphabetic. 

( 154 ) 

The history of Egypt as handed down hy tradition: Maru Iho, the royal lists, main divisions 
of Egyptian history — The beginnings of its early history wgae and uncertain : Menés, and 
the legend of Memphis — The first three human dynasties, the two Thinite and the Memphite — 
Character and origin of the legends concerning them — The famine stela — The earliest 
monuments : the step pyramid of Saqqdrah. 




The divine dynasties : Eâ, Shû, Osiris, Sît, Horus — Thot, and the invention of sciences and writing 
— Menés, and the three first human dynasties. 

1 fTIHE building up and diffusion of the doctrine of 
i the Ennead, like the formation of the land of 

Egypt, demanded centuries of sustained effort, cen- 
turies of which the inhabitants themselves knew 
neither the number nor the authentic history. When 
questioned as to the remote past of their race, they 
proclaimed themselves the most ancient of mankind, 
in comparison with whom all other races were but 
a mob of young children; and they looked upon 
nations which denied their pretensions with such 
indulgence and pity as we feel for those who doubt a 
well-known truth. Their forefathers had appeared 
I upon the banks of the Nile even before the creator 
had completed his work, so eager were the gods to 
behold their birth. No Egyptian disputed the reality of this right of the 

1 Bas-relief at Philae ; drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Be'ato (Kosellini, Monu- 
menti del Culto, pi. xix. 2). The vignette, also drawn by Faucher-Gudin, represents an ichneumon, 
or Pharaoh's rat, sitting up on its haunches, with paws uplifted in adoration. It has been variously 
interpreted. I take it to be the image of an animal spontaneously generated out of the mud, and 
giving thanks to Kâ at the very moment of its creation. The original is of bronze, and in the Gîzeh 
Museum (Mariette, Album photographique, pl. 5). 



firstborn, which ennobled the whole race ; but if they were asked the name of 
their divine father, then the harmony was broken, and each advanced the 
claims of a different personage. 1 Phtah had modelled man with his own 
hands ; 2 Khnûmû had formed him on a potter's table. 3 Eâ at his first rising, 
seeing the earth desert and bare, had flooded it with his rays as with a 
flood of tears ; all living things, vegetable and animal, and man himself, had 
sprung pell-mell from his eyes, and were scattered abroad with the light 
over the surface of the world. 4 Sometimes the facts were presented under 
a less poetic aspect. The mud of the Nile, heated to excess by the 
burning sun, fermented aud brought forth the various races of men and animals 
by spontaneous generation, 5 having moulded itself into a thousand living 
forms. Then its procreative power became weakened to the verge of exhaus- 
tion. Yet on the banks of the river, in the height of summer, smaller animals 
might still be found whose condition showed what had once taken place 
in the case of the larger kinds. Some appeared as already fully formed, and 
struggling to free themselves from the oppressive mud ; others, as yet imperfect, 
feebly stirred their heads and fore feet, while their hind quarters were completing 
their articulation and taking shape within the matrix of earth. 6 It was not Râ 

1 HirPYS of Rhegium, frag. 1 , in Mulleb-Didot, Fragm. Hist. Gr., vol. ii. p. 1 3 ; Aristotle, Polities, 
vii. 9, and Meteorology, i. 1-1 ; Diodobus Siculus, i. 10, 22, 50, etc. AVe know the words which Plato 
puts into the mouth of au Egyptian priest : " O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are always children, and 
there is no old man who is a Greek ! You are all youug in mind ; there is no opinion or tradition of 
knowledge among you which is white with age" (Timxus, 22 B ; Jowett's translation, vol. iii. rjp. 
349, 350). Other nations disputed their priority — the Phrygians (Herodotus, ii. 11), the Medes, or 
rather the tribe of the Magi among the Mede3 (Aristotle in Diogenes Laebtius, pr. 6), the Ethi- 
opians (Diodobus, iii. 2), the Scythians (Justinus, ii. 1 ; Ammianus Marcellinus, xxxi. 15, 2). A 
cycle of legends had gathered about this subject, giving an account of the experiments instituted by 
Psamtik, or other sovereigns, to find out which were right, Egyptians or foreigners (Wiedemann, 
Herodots Zweites Buck, pp. 43-46). 

2 At Philse (Rosellini, Monumenti del Culto, pl. xxi. 1) aud at Denderah, Phtah is represented 
as piling upon his potter's table the plastic clay from which he is about to make a human body 
(Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, pi. cccviii.), and which is somewhat wrongly called the egg of the 
world. It is really the lump of earth from which man came forth at his creation. 

3 At Pbilaî, Khnûmû calls himself "the potter who fashions men, the modeller of the gods" 
(Champollion, Monuments de V Egypte et de la Nubie, pl. lxxiii. 1 ; Rosellini, Monumenti del Culto. 
pl. xx. 1; Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum JEgyptiacarum, p. 752, No. 11). He there moulds the 
members of Osiris, the husband of the local Isis (Rosellini, Monumenti del Culto, pl. xxii. 1), as at 
Erment he forms the body of Harsamtaûi (Rosellini, Monumenti del Culto, pi. xlviii. 3), or rather 
that of Ptolemy Csesarion, the son of Julius Cœsar and the celebrated Cleopatra, identified with 

4 With reference to the substances whicli proceeded from the eye of Râ, see the remarks of Birch, 
Sur un papyrus magique du Mute'e Britannique (cf. Bévue Arche'ologique, 2nd series, 1863, vol. vii.); 
and Masi'ero, Mémoire sur quelques papyrus du Louvre, pp. 91, 92. By his tears (romitû) Horus, or 
his eye as identified with the sun, had given birth to all men, Egyptians (romitû, rotû), Libyans, aud 
Asiatics, excepting only the negroes. The latter were born from another part of his body by the 
same means as those employed by Atûmù in the creation of Shû and Tafnûît (Lefiîbube, Les Quatre 
Baces humaines au jugement dernier, in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archxology, vol. iii. 
p. 44, et seq., and Le Cham et l'Adam e'jyptien, iu the same publication, vol. iv\, 1887, p. 167, et seq.). 

5 Diodobtjs Sici lus, book I. i. 10. 

c Pomponius Mela, De Situ orbis, i. 9. " Nilus glebis etiam infundit animas, ipsaque humo 
vitalia tffingit : hoc eo manifestum est, quoJ, ubi sedavit diluvia, ac se sibi reddidit, per humentes 


alone whose tears were endowed with vitalizing power. All divinities whether 
beneficent or malevolent, Sit as well as Osiris or Isis, could give life by weep- 
ing ; 1 and the work of their eyes, when once it had fallen upon earth, flourished 
and multiplied as vigorously as 
that which came from the eyes of 
Eâ. The individual character of 
the creator was not without bearing 
upon the nature of his creatures 
good was the necessary outcome of 
the good gods, evil of the evil ones ; 
and herein lay the explanation of 
the mingling of things excellent 
and things execrable, which is found 
everywhere throughout the world. 
Voluntarily or involuntarily, Sit 
and his partisans were the cause 
and origin of all that is harmful. 
Daily their eyes shed upon the 
world those juices by which plants 
are made poisonous, as well as 
malign influences, crime, and mad- 
ness. Their saliva, the foam which 
fell from their mouths during their 
attacks of rage, their sweat, their 
blood itself, were all no less to be feared. When any drop of it touched the 

carapos quredam nondura perfecta animalia, sed turn primum accipicntia spiritum, et ex parte jam 
formata, ex parte adhuc terra visuntur." The same story is told, but with reference to rats only, by 
Pliny (if. N., x. 58), by Diodorus (I. i. 15), by ^Elianus (II. Anim., ii. 5G ; vi. 40), by Macrobius 
(Saturn., vii. 17, etc.), and by other Greek or Latin writers. Even in later times, and in Europe, this 
pretended phenomenon met with a certain degree of belief, as may be seen from the curious work of 
Marcus Fredericus AVendelinus, Arclii-palatinus, Admiranda Nili, Fraucof urti, mdcxxiii., cap. xxi. pp 
157-183. In Egypt all the fellahîn believe in the spontaneous generation of rats as in an article of 
their creed. They have spoken to me of it at Thebes, at Deuderah, and on the plain of Abydos ; and 
Major Brown has lately noted the same thing in the Fayûm (B. H. Brown, The Fayûm and Lake 
Mœris, p. 26). The variant which he heard from the lips of the notables is curious, for it professes to 
explain why the rats who infest the fields in countless bands during the dry season, suddenly dis- 
appear at the return of the inundation : born of the mud and putrid water of the preceding year, to 
mud they return, and as it were dissolve at the touch of the new waters. 

1 The tears of Shû and Tafnûît are changed into incense-bearing trees (Birch, Sur un papyrus 
magique du Musée Britannique, p. 3). It was more especially on the day of the death of Osiris that 
tho gods had shed their fertilizing tears. On the effects produced by the sweat and blood of tho 
gods, see Birch, ibid., pp. 3, 6 ; and Maspero, Mémoire sur quelques papyrus du Louvre, p. 93. 

2 Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Gayet. The scene is taken from bas-reliefs in the 
temple of Luxor, whero the god Khnûmû is seen completing his modelling of the future King 
Amenôthes III. and his double, represented as two children wearing the side-lock and large neck- 
lace. The first holds his finger to his lips, while the arms of the second swing at his sides. 




earth, straightway it germinated, and produced something strange and 
baleful — a serpent, a scorpion, a plant of deadly nightshade or of henbane. 
But, on the other hand, the sun was all goodness, and persons or things 
which it cast forth into life infallibly partook of its benignity. Wine 
that maketh man glad, the bee who works for him in the flowers secreting 
wax and honey, 1 the meat and herbs which are his food, the stuffs that 
clothe him, all useful things which he makes for himself, not only emanated 
from the Solar Eye of Horus, but were indeed nothing more than the Eye of 
Horus under different aspects, and in his name they were presented in 
sacrifice. 2 The devout generally were of opinion that the first Egyptians, 
the sons and flock of Bâ, came into the world happy and perfect ; 3 by 
degrees their descendants had fallen from that native felicity into their present 
state. Some, on the contrary, affirmed that their ancestors were born as so 
many brutes, unprovided with the most essential arts of gentle life. They 
knew nothing of articulate speech, and expressed themselves by cries only, 
like other animals, until the day when Thot taught them both speech and 

These tales sufficed for popular edification ; they provided but meagre fare 
for the intelligence of the learned. The latter did not confine their ambition 
to the possession of a few incomplete and contradic tory details concerning the 
beginnings of humanity. They wished to know the history of its consecutive 
development from the very first ; what manner of life had been led by their 
fathers ; what chiefs they had obeyed and the names or adventures of those 
chiefs ; why part of the nations had left the blessed banks of the Nile and 
gone to settle in foreign lands ; by what stages and in what length of 
time those who had not emigrated rose out of native barbarism into that 
degree of culture to which the most ancient monuments bore testimony. 
No efforts of imagination were needful for the satisfaction of their curi- 
osity : the old substratum of indigenous traditions was rich enough, did they 

1 Birch, Sur un papyrus magique du Musée Britannique, p. 3 : " When the Sun-god weeps a 
second time, and lets water fall from his eyes, it is changed into working bees ; they work in all 
kinds of flowers, and there honey and wax are made instead of water." Elsewhere the bees are 
suppressed, and the honey or wax flows directly from the Eye of Eâ (Maspeko, Mémoire sur quelques 
papyrus du Louvre, pp. 21, 22, 41, 97). 

* Brugsch was, I believe, the first to recognize different kinds of wine and stuffs in expressions 
into which "the Eye of Horus" enters (Dictionnaire Hiéroglyphique, p. 103; cf. Supplément, pp. 
10G-114). The Pyramid texts have since amply confirmed his discovery, and shown it to be of 
general application. 

3 In the tomb of Seti I., the words flock of the Snn, flock of Râ, are those by which the god Horus 
refers to men (Sharpe-Bonomi, The Alabaster Sarcophagus of Oimenephtah I., King of Egypt, pl. vii. D, 
11. 1, 2, 4). Certain expressions used by Egyptian writers are in themselves sufficient to show 
that the first generations of men were supposed to have lived in a state of happiness and perfection. 
To the Egyptians the times of Ra, the times of the god— that is to say, the centuries immediately 
following on the creation — were the ideal age, and no good thing had appeared upon earth since then. 


but take the trouble to work it out systematically, and to eliminate its most 
incongruous elements. The priests of Heliopolis took this work in hand, 
as they had already taken in hand the same task with regard to the myths 
referring to the creation ; and the Enneads provided them with a ready-made 
framework. They changed the gods of the Ennead into so many kings, 
determined with minute accuracy the lengths of their reigns, and compiled 
their biographies from popular tales. 1 The duality of the feudal god supplied 
an admirable expedient for connecting the history of the world with that 
of chaos. Tûmû was identified with Nû, and relegated to the primordial 
Ocean : Kâ was retained, and proclaimed the first king of the world. He 
had not established his rule without difficulty. The " Children of Defeat," 
beings hostile to order and light, engaged him in fierce battles ; nor 
did he succeed in organizing his kingdom until he had conquered them in 
nocturnal combat at Hermopolis, and even at Heliopolis itself. 2 Pierced with 
wounds, Apôpi the serpent sank into the depths of Ocean at the very moment 
when the new year began. 3 The secondary members of the Great Ennead, 
together with the Sun, formed the first dynasty, which began with the dawn 
of the first day, and ended at the coming of Horus, the son of Isis. The 
local schools of theology welcomed this method of writing history as 
readily as they had welcomed the principle of the Ennead itself. Some 
of them retained the Heliopolitan demiurge, and hastened to associate him 
with their own ; others completely eliminated him in favour of the feudal 
divinity, — Amon at Thebes, Thot at Hermopolis, Phtah at Memphis, — 
keeping the rest of the dynasty absolutely unchanged. 4 The gods in no 

1 The identity of the first divine dynasties with the Heliopolitan Enneads has been ex- 
haustively demonstrated by Maspeuo, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. 
pp. 279-296. 

- The Children of Defeat, in Egyptian Mosû batashû, or Mosû butashît, are often confounded with 
the followers of Sit, the enemies of Osiris. From the first they were distinct, and represented beings 
and forces hostile to the sun, with the dragon Apôpi at their head. Their defeat at Hermopolis 
corresponded to the moment when Shu, raising the sky above the sacred mound in that city (cf. p. 
146), substituted order and light for chaos and darkness. This defeat is mentioned in chap. xvii. 
of the Book of the Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pl. xxiii. 1. 3, et seq.), in which connexion 
E. de Eougé first explained its meaning (Études sur le Rituel funéraire des Anciens Égyptiens, 
pp. 41, 42). In the same chapter of the Boole of the Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. xxiv., xxv., 
11. 54-58; cf. E. de Bougé, Études sur le Rituel funéraire, pp. 56, 57), reference is also made to the 
battle by night, in Heliopolis, at the close of which Kâ appeared in the form of a cat or lion, and 
beheaded the great serpent. 

J See Birch, Inscriptions in the Hieratic and Demotic Character, pi. xxix. 11. 8, 9 ; and Sur une 
Stèle hiératique in Chabas, Mélanges Égyptologiques, 2nd series, p. 334. 

4 On Amon-Bâ, and on Montû, first king of Egypt according to the Theban tradition, see Lepsitjs, 
Ueber den ersten JEgyptischen GotterJcreis, pp. 173, 174, 180-183, 186. Thot is the chief of the Hermo- 
politan Ennead (see chap. ii.p. 145, et seq.), and the titles ascribed to him by inscriptions maintaining 
his supremacy (Bkugsch, Religion und Mythologie, p. 445, et seq.) show that he also was considered 
to have been the first king. One of the Ptolemies said of himself that he came " as the Majesty 
of Thot, because he was the equal of Atûmû, hence the equal of Khopri, hence the equal of Bâ." 
Atûmû-Khopri-Eâ being the first earthly king, it follows that the Majesty of Thot, with whom 


way compromised their prestige by becoming incarnate and descending to 
earth. Since they were men of finer nature, and their qualities, including that 
of miracle-working, were human qualities raised to the highest pitch of 
intensity, it was not considered derogatory to them personally to have 
watched over the infancy and childhood of primeval man. The raillery in 
which the Egyptians occasionally indulged with regard to them, the good- 
humoured and even ridiculous rôles ascribed to them in certain legends, do 
not prove that they were despised, or that zeal for them had cooled. The 
greater the respect of believers for the objects of their worship, the more 
easily do they tolerate the taking of such liberties, and the condescension of 
the members of the Ennead, far from lowering them in the eyes of generations 
who came too late to live with them upon familiar terms, only enhanced the 
love and reverence in which they were held. 

Nothing shows this better than the history of Rà. His world was ours in 
the rough ; for since Shu was yet non-existent, and Nûît still reposed in the 
arms of Sibû, earth and sky were but one. 1 Nevertheless in this first attempt 
at a world there was vegetable, animal, and human life. Egypt was there, 
all complete, with her two chains of mountains, her Nile, her cities, the 
people of her nomes, and the nomes themselves. Then the soil was more 
generous ; the harvests, without the labourer's toil, were higher and more 
abundant ; 2 and when the Egyptians of Pharaonic times wished to mark 
their admiration of any person or thing, they said that the like had 
never been known since the time of Râ. It is an illusion common to all 
peoples; as their insatiable thirst for happiness is never assuaged by the 
present, they fall back upon the remotest past in search of an age when 
that supreme felicity which is only known to them as an ideal was 
actually enjoyed by their ancestors. Râ dwelt in Heliopolis, and the most 

Ptolemy identifies himself, comparing himself to the three forms of the god Râ, is also the first 
earthly king. Finally, on the placing of Phtah at the head of the Memphite dynasties, see remarks 
by LEPsrus, Ueber den ersten Mgyptischen Gôtterhreis, pp. 168-173, 184, 180, 188-190; and by Maspero, 
Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 283, et seq. 

1 This conception of the primitive Egyptian world is clearly implied in the very terms employed 
by the author of The Destruction of Men. Nûît does not rise to form the sky until such time as Râ 
thinks of bringing his reign to an end ; that is to say, after Egypt had already been in existence for 
many centuries (Lefébure, Le Tombeau de Séti 1., part iv. pl. xvi. 1. 28, et seq.). In chap. xvii. 
of the Booh of the Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pi. xxiii. 11. 3-5) it is stated that the reign of 
Râ began in the times when the upliftings had not yet taken place ; that is to say, before Shû had 
separated Nûît from Sibû, and forcibly uplifted her above the body of her husband (Naville, Deux 
lignes du Livre des Morts, in the Zeitschrift, 1874, p. 59 ; and La Destruction des hommes par les Dieux, 
in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archxology, vol. iv. p. 3). 

: This is an ideal in accordance with the picture drawn of the fields of Ialû in chap. ex. of the 
Booh of the Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. exxi.-exxiii.). As with the Paradise of most races, 
so the place of the Osirian dead still possessed privileges which the earth had enjoyed during 
the first years succeeding the creation ; that is to say, under the direct rule of Râ. 


ancient portion of the temple of the city, that known as the " Mansion of the 
Prince" — Haït Sarû, — passed for having been his palace. 1 His court was 
mainly composed of gods and goddesses, and they as well as he were visible to 
men. It contained also men who filled minor offices about his person, prepared 
his food, received the offerings of his subjects, attended to his linen and house- 
hold affairs. It was said that the oîrû-maû — the high priest of Râ, the 


hanJcistît — his high priestess, and generally speaking all the servants of the 
temple of Heliopolis, were either directly descended from members of this first 
household establishment of the god, or had succeeded to their offices in 
unbroken succession. 3 In the morning he went forth with his divine train, 
and, amid the acclamations of the crowd, entered the bark in which he made 
his accustomed circuit of the world, returning to his home at the end of 
twelve hours after the accomplishment of his journey. 4 lie visited each 

1 See p. 136 on the Mansion of the Prince. It was also currently known as Edit ait, the Great 
Mansion (Brugsch, Dictionnaire Géographique, pp. 475, 476), the name given to the dwellings of 
kings or princes (Maspero, Sur le sens des mots Nuit et Huit, in the Proceedings of the Society of 
Biblical Archxology, 1889-90, vol. xii. p. 253, et seq ). 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the scenes represented upon the architraves of the 
pronaos at Edfù (Rosellini, Monumenti del Culto, pi. xxxviii. No. 1). 

3 Among the humau servants of the Pharaoh Râ, the story of the Destruction of Men mentions 
a miller, and women to grind grain for making beer (Lefébure, Le Tombeau de Séti P r , part iv. 
pl. xv. 11. 17, 18). In a passage of chap. cxv. of the Booh of the Dead (LErsius' edition, 11. 5, 6), so 
obscure as to have escaped the first translators, the mythic origin of the hanlcistit, the priestess 
with the plaited hair, is referred to the reign of Râ (Goodwin, On Chapter CXV. of the Booh of the 
Dead, in the Zeitschrift, 1873, p. 106; Lefébure, Le Chapitre CXV. du Livre des Morts, in the 
Mélanges d'Archéologie Egyptienne et Assyrienne, vol. i. pp. 161, 163, 165). 

* Cf. Pleyte-Rossi, Les Papyrus de Turin, pl. cxxxii. 11. 2, 5, where there is an account of the 
going forth of the god, according to his daily custom. The author has simply applied to the Sun 
as Pharaoh the order of proceedings of the sun as a heavenly body, rising in the morning to make 
his course round the world and to give light by day. 




province in turn, and in each he tarried for an hour, to settle all disputed 
matters, as the final judge of appeal. 1 He gave audience to both small 
and great, he decided their quarrels and adjudged their lawsuits, he granted 
investiture of fiefs from the royal domains to those who had deserved them, 
and allotted or confirmed to every family the income needful for their main- 
tenance. He pitied the sufferings of his people, and did his utmost to alleviate 
them ; he taught to all comers potent formulas against reptiles and beasts of 
prey, charms to cast out evil spirits, and the best recipes for preventing 
illness. His incessant bounties left him at length with only one of his 
talismans : the name given to him by his father and mother at his birth, which 
they had revealed to him alone, and which he kept concealed within his 
bosom lest some sorcerer should get possession of it to use for the furtherance 
of his evil spells. 2 

But old age came on, and infirmities followed ; the body of Eâ grew bent, 
" his mouth trembled, his slaver trickled down to earth and his saliva dropped 
upon the ground." 3 Isis, who had hitherto been a mere woman-servant in the 
household of the Pharaoh, conceived the project of stealing his secret from 
him, "that she might possess the world and make herself a goddess by the name 
of the august god." 4 Force would have been unavailing ; all enfeebled as he 
was by reason of his year?, none was strong enough to contend successfully 
against him. But Isis " was a woman more knowing in her malice than 
millions of men, clever among millions of the gods, equal to millions of spirits, 
to whom as unto Râ nothing was unknown either in heaven or upon earth." 5 
She contrived a most ingenious stratagem. When man or god was struck down 
by illness, the only chance of curing him lay in knowing his real name, and 
thereby adjuring the evil being that tormented him. 6 Isis determined to cast 
a terrible malady upon Râ, concealing its cause from him ; then to offer her 
services as his nurse, and by means of his sufferings to extract from him 

1 The dead Sun-god pursued the same course in the world of night, and employed his time in 
the same way as a Pharaoh (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 
44, 45). So it was with the Sun-god King of Egypt when " he goeth forth to see that which he has 
created, and to traverse the two kingdoms which he has made " (Pleyte-Eossï, Les Papyrus de 
Turin, pl. cxxxii. 1. 12). 

2 The legend of the Sun-god robbed of his heart by Isis was published in three fragments 
by MM. Pleyte and Eossi {Les Papyrus hiératiques de Turin, pis. xxxi., lxxvii., cxxxi.-cxxxviii.), 
but they had no suspicion of its importance. Its meaning was first recognized by Lefi^bure ( Un 
chapitre de la Chronique solaire, in the Zeitschrift, 1883, pp. 27-33), who made a complete translation 
of the text. 

3 Pleyte-Eossi, Les Papyrus hiératiques de Turin, pl. cxxxii. 11. 2, 3. 

4 Ibid., ibid., pi. cxxxii. 11. 1, 2. On pp. 110, 111, I have already pointed out how the gods 
thus grew old. 

5 Ibid., ibid., pl. cxxxi. 1. 14 ; pi. cxxxii. 1. 1. 

6 For the power of the divine names, and the interest which magicians had in exactly knowing 
them, cf. Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 298, et seq. 


the mysterious word indispensable to the success of the exorcism. She 
gathered up mud impregnated with the divine saliva, and moulded of it 
a sacred serpent which she hid in the dust of the road. Suddenly bitten as he 
was setting out upon his daily round, the god cried out aloud, " his voice 
ascended into heaven and his Nine called : ' What is it ? what is it ? ' and 
his gods : 'What is the matter? what is the matter? ' but he could make them 
no answer so much did his lips tremble, his limbs shake, and the venom take 
hold upon his flesh as the Nile seizeth upon the land which it invadeth." 1 
Presently he came to himself, and succeeded in describing his sensations. 
" Something painful hath stung me ; my heart perceiveth it, yet my two eyes 
see it not ; my hand hath not wrought it, nothing that I have made knoweth 
it what it is, yet have I never tasted suffering like unto it, and there is no 
pain that may overpass it. . . . Fire it is not, water it is not, yet is my heart 
in flames, my flesh trembleth, all my members are full of shiverings born of 
breaths of magic. Behold ! let there be brought unto me children of the gods 
of beneficent words, who know the power of their mouths, and whose science 
reacheth unto heaven." They came, these children of the gods, all with their 
books of magic. There came Isis with her sorcery, her mouth full o£ 
life-giving breaths, her recipe for the destruction of pain, her words which pour 
life into breathless throats, and she said : " What is it ? what is it, O 
father of the gods ? May it not be that a serpent hath wrought this suffering 
in thee ; that one of thy children hath lifted up his head against thee ? Surely 
he shall be overthrown by beneficent incantations, and I will make him to 
retreat at the sight of thy rays." 2 On learning the cause of his torment, the 
Sun-god is terrified, and begins to lament anew : " I, then, as I went along the 
ways, travelling through my double land of Egypt and over my mountains, that 
I might look upon that which I have made, I was bitten by a serpent that 
1 saw not. Fire it is not, water it is not, yet am I colder than water, I burr 
more than fire, all my members stream with sweat, I tremble, mine eye is not 
steady, no longer can I discern the sky, drops roll from my face as in the 
season of summer." 3 Isis proposes her remedy, aud cautiously asks him 
his ineffable name. But he divines her trick, and tries to evade it by an 
enumeration of his titles. He takes the universe to witness that he is 
called "Khopri in the morning, Bâ at noon, Tûmù in the evening." The 
poison did not recede, but steadily advanced, and the great god was not eased. 
Then Isis said to Bâ: "Thy name was not spoken in that which thou hast 
said. Tell it to me and the poison will depart; for he liveth upon whom 

1 Pleyte-Rossi, Les Papyrus hiératiques de Turin, pl. cxxxii. 11. 6-8. 

2 Iuid., ibid., pl. cxxxii. 1. 9 ; pl. cxxxiii. 1. 3. 
* lull)., ibid., pi. cxxxiii. 11. 3-5. 



a charm is pronounced in his own name." The poison glowed like fire, it was 
strong as the burning of flame, and the Majesty of Râ said, " I grant thee 
leave that thou shouldest search within me, O mother Isis ! and that my name 
pass from my bosom into thy bosom." 1 In truth, the all-powerful name was 
hidden within the body of the god, and could only be extracted thence 
by means of a surgical operation similar to that practised upon a corpse 
which is about to be mummified. Isis undertook it, carried it through 
successfully, drove out the poison, and made herself a goddess by virtue 
of the name. The cunning of a mere woman had deprived Râ of his last 

In course of time men perceived his decrepitude. 2 They took counsel 
against him : " Lo ! his Majesty waxeth old, his bones are of silver, his flesh 
is of gold, his hair of lapis-lazuli." 3 As soon as his Majesty perceived that 
which they were saying to each other, his Majesty said to those who were 
of his train, " Call together for me my Divine Eye, Shû, Tafiiûît, Sibû, and 
Nûît, the father and the mother gods who were with me when I was in 
the Nû, with the god Nu. Let each bring his cycle along with him ; then, 
when thou shalt have brought them in secret, thou shalt take them to the 
great mansion that they may lend me their counsel and their consent, coming 
hither from the Nû into this place where I have manifested myself." 4 So the 
family council comes together : the ancestors of Râ, and his posterity still 
awaiting amid the primordial waters the time of their manifestation — his 
children Shû and Tafnûît, his grandchildren Sibû and Nûît. They place 
themselves, according to etiquette, on either side his throne, prostrate, with 
their foreheads to the ground, and thus their conference begins : " O Nû r 
thou the eldest of the gods, from whom I took my being, and ye the ancestor- 
gods, behold ! men who are the emanation of mine eye have taken counsel 

1 Pleyte-Rossi, Les Papyrus hie'ratiques de Turin, pi. cxxxii. 11. 10-12. 

2 The history of the legendary events which brought the reign of Râ to a close was inscribed 
upon two of the royal tombs in Thebes : that of Seti I. and that of Ramses III. It can still be almost 
completely restored in spite of the many mutilations which deface both copies. It was discovered, 
translated, and commentated upon by Naville (La Destruction des hommes par les Dieux, in the 
Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archeology, vol. iv. pp. 1-19, reproducing Hay's copies- 
made at the beginning of this century ; and VInscription de la Destruction des hommes dans le 
tombeau de Bamsès III., in the Transactions, vol. viii. pp. 412-420) ; afterwards published anew 
by Herb von Bergmann (Hieroglyphi sche Inschriften, pis. lxxv.-lxxxii., and pp. 55, 56); completely 
translated by Brugsch (Die neue Weltordnung nach Vernichtung des sundigen Menschengeschlechts 
nach einer Altdgyptischen Ueberlieferung, 1881); and partly translated by Lauth (Aus JEgyptens 
Vorzeit, pp. 70-81) and by Lefébure (Un chapitre de la chronique solaire, in the Zeitschrift, 1883, 
pp. 32, 33). 

3 Naville, La Destruction des hommes par les Dieux, vol. iv. pl. i. 1. 2 ; and vol. viii. pl. i. 

I. 2. This description of the old age of the Sun-god is found word for word in other texts, and 
in the Fajûm geographical papyrus (Mariette, Les Papyrus hie'ratiques de Boulaq, vol. i. pi. ii., 
No. vi., 11. 2, 3 ; cf. Lauth, Aus JEgyptens Vorzeit, p. 72). See also pp. 110, 111. 

1 Naville, La Destruction des hommes par les Dieux, vol. iv. pl. i. 11. 1-0 ; and vol. viii. pl. i. 

II. 1-6. 



together against me ! Tell me what ye would do, for I have bidden you here 
before I slay them, that I may hear what ye would say thereto." 1 Nû, as 
the eldest, has the right to speak first, and demands that the guilty shall 
be brought to judgment and formally condemned. " My son Râ, god greater 
than the god who made him, older than the gods who created him, sit thou 
upon thy throne, and great shall be the terror when thine eye shall rest upon 
those who plot together against thee ! " But Râ 
not unreasonably fears that when men see the 
solemn pomp of royal justice, they may suspect | 
the fate that awaits them, and " flee into the 
desert, their hearts terrified at that which I have I 
to say to them." The desert was even then hostile 
to the tutelary gods of Egypt, and offered an almost 
inviolable asylum to their enemies. The con- 
clave admits that the apprehensions of Râ are j 
well founded, and pronounces in favour of sum- 
mary execution ; the Divine Eye is to be the 
executioner. " Let it go forth that it may smite | 
those who have devised evil against thee, for i 
there is no Eye more to be feared than thine j 
when it attacketh in the form of Hâthor." So j 
the Eye takes the form of Hâthor, suddenly falls | 
upon men, and slays them right and left with 


great strokes of the knife. After some hours, Râ, 

who would chasten but not destroy his children, commands her to cease 
from her carnage ; but the goddess has tasted blood, and refuses to obey 
him. " By thy life," she replies, " when I slaughter men then is my 
heart right joyful ! " That is why she was afterwards called Sokhît the 
slayer, 3 and represented under the form of a fierce lioness. Nightfall stayed 
her course in the neighbourhood of Heracleopolis ; all the way from Heli- 
opolis she had trampled through blood. 4 As soon as she had fallen 
asleep, Râ hastily took effectual measures to prevent her from beginning her 

1 Naville, La Destruction des hommes par les Dieux, vol. iv. pl. i. 11. 8-10; and vol. viii. pi. i. 
11. 9-11. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a bronze ttatuctte of the Sa'ite period in the Gîzeh Museum 
(Mariette, Album photographique du Musée de Boulaq, pl. 6). 

3 Solihît may be derived from the verb solchû, to strike, to kill with the blow of a stick. 

4 The passage from the Fayum papyrus which I have already mentioned alludes to this 
massacre, but to another tradition of it than we are following, and one according to which men 
had openly resisted the god, and fought him in pitched battle in the neighbourhood of Hera- 
cleopolis Magna (Mariette, Les Papurus Égyptiens du Mwée de Boulaq, vol. i. pl. ii., No. vi., 
11. 1-6). 



work again on the morrow. "He said: 'Call on my behalf messengers agile 
and swift, who go like the wind.' When these messengers were straightway 
brought to him, the Majesty of the god said : ' Let them run to Elephantine 
and bring me mandragora in plenty.' 1 When they had brought him the 
mandragora, the Majesty of this great god summoned the miller which is in 
Heliopolis that he might bray it ; and the women-servants having crushed 
grain for the beer, the mandragora, and also human blood, were mingled 
with the liquor, and thereof was made in all seven thousand jars of beer." 
Eâ himself examined this delectable drink, and finding it to possess the wished- 
for properties : " ' It is well,' said he ; ' therewith shall I save men from the 
goddess ; ' then, addressing those of his train : ' Take these jars in your arms, 
and carry them to the place where she has slaughtered men.' Eâ, the king, 
caused dawn to break at midnight, so that this philtre might be poured 
down upon the earth ; and the fields were flooded with it to the depth of four 
palms, according as it pleased the souls oi his Majesty." In the morn- 
ing the goddess came, "that she might return to her carnage, but she 
found that all was flooded, and her countenance softened ; when she had 
drunken, it was her heart that softened ; she went away drunk, without further 
thought of men." There was some fear lest her fury might return when the 
fumes of drunkenness were past, and to obviate this danger Eâ instituted 
a rite, partly with the object of instructing future generations as to the 
chastisement which he had inflicted upon the impious, partly to console Sokhît 
for her discomfiture. He decreed that " on New Year's Day there should be 
brewed for her as many jars of philtre as there were priestesses of the sun. 
That was the origin of all those jars of philtre, in number equal to that of the 
priestesses, which, at the feast of Hâthor, all men make from that day forth." 2 
Peace was re-established, but could it last long? Would not men, as 
soon as they had recovered from their terror, betake themselves again to 
plotting against the god ? Besides, Eâ now felt nothing but disgust for our 
race. The ingratitude of his children had wounded him deeply ; he foresaw 
ever-renewed rebellions as his feebleness became more marked, and he shrank 
from having to order new massacres in which mankind would perish alto- 
gether. "By my life," says he to the gods who accompanied him, "my 
heart is too weary for me to remain with mankind, and slay them until 

1 The mandragora of Elephantine was used in the manufacture of an intoxicating and narcotic 
drink employed either in medicine (Ebers, Papyrus Lbcrs, pl. xxxix. 1. 10) or in magic. In a special 
article, Betjgsch has collected particulars preserved by the texts as to the uses of this phint (Die 
Alraune als altagyptische Zauberpflanze, in the Zeitschrift, vol. xxix. pp. 31-33). It was not as yet 
credited with the human form and the peculiar kind of life ascribed to it by western sorcerers. 

2 Naville, La Destruction des hommes par les Dieux, vol. iv. pis. i., ii., 11. 1-27 ; vol. viii. 
pis. i., ii., 11. 1-34. 



they are no more : annihilation is not of the gifts that I love to make." 
And the gods exclaim in surprise: "Breathe not a word of thy weariness 
at a time when thou dost triumph at thy pleasure." 1 But Bâ does not 
yield to their representations ; he will leave a kingdom wherein they murmur 
against him, and turning towards Nû he says : " My limbs are decrepit for 
the first time ; I will not go to any place where I can be reached." It was 
no easy matter to find him an inaccessible retreat owing to the imperfect 
state in which the universe had been left by the first effort of the demiurge. 
Nu saw no other way out of the difficulty than that of setting to work to 
complete the creation. Ancient tradition had imagined the separation of 
earth and sky as an act of violence exercised by Sim upon Sibu and Nûît. 2 
History presented facts after a less brutal fashion, and Shû became a virtuous 
son who devoted his time and strength to upholding Nûît, that he might 
thereby do his father a service. Nûît, for her part, showed herself to be a 
devoted daughter whom there was no need to treat roughly in order to teach 
her her duty ; of herself she consented to leave her husband, and place her 
beloved ancestor beyond reach. "The Majesty of Nû said: 'Son Shû, do as 
thy father Bâ shall say ; and thou, daughter Nûît, place him upon thy back 
and hold him suspended above the earth ! ' Nûît said : ' And how then, my 
father Nû ? ' Thus spake Nûît, and she did that which Nû commanded her ; 
she changed herself into a cow, and placed the Majesty of Bâ upon her back. 
When those men who had not been slain came to give thanks to Bâ, behold ! 
they found him no longer in his palace ; but a cow stood there, and they 
perceived him upon the back of the cow." They found him so resolved to 
depart that they did not try to turn him from his purpose, but only desired 
to give him such a proof of their repentance as should assure them of 
the complete pardon of their crime. " They said unto him : ' Wait until 
the morning, Bâ ! our lord, and we will strike down thine enemies who 
have taken counsel against thee.' So his Majesty returned to his mansion, 
descended from the cow, went in along with them, and earth was plunged into 
darkness. But when there was light upon earth the next morning, the men 
went forth with their bows and their arrows, and began to shoot at the enemy. 
Whereupon the Majesty of this god said unto them : ' Your sins are remitted 
unto you, for sacrifice precludes the execution of the guilty.' And this was 
the origin upon earth of sacrifices in which blood was shed." 3 

1 Naville, La Destruction des hommes par les Dieux, vol. iv. pl. ii. 11. 27-29; viii. pi. ii. 
11. 34-37. 

s See what is said in chap. ii. pp. 128, 129, as to the wresting of Nûît from the arms of Sibu. 

3 Naville, La Destruction des hommes par les Dieux, vol. iv. pl. ii. 11. 27-36. Many lacunas 
occur in this part of the text and make its reading difficult in both copies. The general sense is 
certain, apart from some comparatively unimportant shades of meaning. 



Thus it was that when on the point of separating for ever, the god and men 
came to an understanding as to the terms of their future relationship. Men 
offered to the god the life of those who had offended him. Human sacrifice 
was in their eyes the obligatory sacrifice, the only one which could completely 
atone for the wrongs committed against the godhead ; man alone was worthy 
to wash away with his blood the sins of men. 1 For this one time the god 
accepted the expiation just as it was offered to him ; then the repugnance 
which he felt to killing his children overcame him, he substituted beast for 
man, and decided that oxen, gazelles, birds, should henceforth furnish the 
material for sacrifice. 2 This point settled, he again mounted the cow, who rose, 
supported on her four legs as on so many pillars ; and her belly, stretched 
out above the earth like a ceiling, formed the sky. He busied himself 
with organizing the new world which he found on her back ; he peopled it 
with many beings, chose two districts in which to establish his abode, the 
Field of Reeds — Solclrit Ialû — and the Field of Eest — SolchU Hotyît — and sus- 
pended the stars which were to give light by night. All this is related with 
many plays upon words, intended, according to Oriental custom, as explana- 
tions of the names which the legend assigned to the different regions of heaven. 
At sight of a plain whose situation pleased him, he cried : " The Field rests in 
the distance ! " — and that was the origin of the Field of Eest. He added : 
" There will I gather plants ! " — and from this the Field of Eeeds took its 
name. While he gave himself up to this philological pastime, Nûît, suddenly 
transported to unaccustomed heights, grew frightened, and cried for help : 
" For pity's sake give me supports to sustain me ! " This was the origin of 
the support-gods. They came and stationed themselves by each of her four 
legs, steadying these with their hands, and keeping constant watch over 

1 This legend, which seeks to explain the discontinuance of human sacrifices among the Egyp- 
tians, affords direct proof of their existence in primitive times (Naville, La Destruction des hommes 
par les Dieux, in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. iv. pp. 17, 18). This 
is confirmed by many facts. We shall see that ûashbîti laid in graves were in place of the male 
or female slaves who were originally slaughtered at the tombs of the rich and noble that they might 
go to serve their masters in tbe next world (cf. p. 193). Even in Thebes, under the XIX tu 
dynasty, certain rock-cut tombs contain scenes which might lead us to believe that occasionally at 
least human victims were sent to doubles of distinction (Maspeiîo, Le Tombeau de Montûhihhopshouf, 
in the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire, vol. v. p. 452, et seq.). During this same period, moreover, 
the most distinguished hostile chiefs taken in war were still put to death before the gods. Ia 
several towns, as at Eilithyia (De Iside et Osiride, § 73, Pabthey's edition, pp. 129, 130) and at 
Heliopolis (Pokphyrius, De Abstinentiâ, ii. 55, cf. Eosebius, Prseper. Evang., iv. 16), or before certain 
gods, such as Osiris (Diodorcs, i. 88) or Kronos-Sibu (Sextus Empibicos, iii. 24, 221), human 
sacrifice lasted until near Eoman times. But generally speaking it was very rare. Almost every- 
where cakes of a particular shape, and called irtfinara (Seleucus op Alexandria, in Athen^tjs, iv 
p. 172), or else animals, had been substituted for man. 

1 It was asserted that the partisans of Apôpi and of Sit, who were the enemies of Eâ, Osiris, 
and the other gods, had taken refuge in the bodies of certain animals. Hence, it was really human 
or divine victims which were offered when beasts were slaughtered in sacrifice before the altars. 



them. As this was not enough to reassure the good beast, " Eâ said, 'My 
son Shu, place thyself beneath my daughter Nûit, and teep watch on both 
sides over the supports, who live in the twilight; hold thou her up above thy 
head, and be her guardian ! ' " Shu obeyed ; Nûît composed herself, and 


the world, now furnished with the sky which it had hitherto lacked, assumed 
its present symmetrical form. 3 

Shu and Sibû succeeded Eâ, but did not acquire so lasting a popu- 
larity as their great ancestor. Nevertheless they had their annals, frag- 
ments of which have come down to us. 3 Their power also extended over the 
whole universe : " The Majesty of Shû was the excellent king of the sky, of the 

1 Drawn by Fauchcr-Gudiu. Cf. Champollion, Monuments de V Egypte et de la Nubie, pl. 
ccxli. 3; Lefébuke, Le Tombeau deSéli I. (in the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire, vol. ii.), part iv. 
pl. xvii. 

2 Nav ille, La Destruction des hommes par les Dieux, in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical 
Archxology, vol. iv. pi. ii. 1. 37, et seq. 

3 Tbey have been preserved upon the walls of a naos which was first erected in Aît-Nobsû, a city 
of the Eastern Delta, and afterwards transported towards the beginning of the Eoman period into the 
suburban district of Khinocolûra, the El-Arish of to-day. This naos, which was discovered and 
pointed out by Guerin more than twenty years ago (Judée, vol. ii. p. 241), has been copied, published, 
and translated by Griffith (TJie Antiquities of Tell el Yahûdiyeh, in the Seventh Memoir of the 
Egypt Exploration Fund, pis. xxiii.-xxv., and pp. 70-72; cf. Maspeeo in the Revue Critique, 1801, 
vol. i. pp. 44-46). 



earth, of Hades, of the water, of the winds, of the inundation, of the two chains 
of mountains, of the sea, governing with a true voice according to the precepts 
of his father Eâ-Harmakhis." 1 Only " the children of the serpent Apôpi, the 
impious ones who haunt the solitary places and the deserts," disavowed his 
authority. Like the Bedawîn of later times, they suddenly streamed in by the 
isthmus routes, went up into Egypt under cover of night, slew and pillaged, and 
then hastily returned to their fastnesses with the booty which they had carried 
off. 2 From sea to sea Râ had fortified the eastern frontier against them. He 
had surrounded the principal cities with walls, embellished them with temples, 
and placed within them those mysterious talismans more powerful for 
defence than a garrison of men. Thus Aît-nobsû, near the mouth of the 
Wady-Tûmilât, possessed one of the rods of the Sun-god, also the living 
ureeus of his crown whose breath consumes all that it touches, and, finally, a 
lock of his hair, which, being cast into the waters of a lake, was changed into 
a hawk-headed crocodile to tear the invader in pieces. 3 The employment of 
these talismans was dangerous to those unaccustomed to use them, even to 
the gods themselves. Scarcely was Sibû enthroned as the successor of Shu, 
who, tired of reigning, had reascended into heaven in a nine days' tempest, 
before he began his inspection of the eastern marches, and caused the box in 
which was kept the uraeus of Eâ to be opened. " As soon as the living viper 
had breathed its breath against the Majesty of Sibû there was a great disaster 
— great indeed, for those who were in the train of the god perished, and his 
Majesty himself was burned in that day. When his Majesty had fled to the 
north of Aît-nobsû, pursued by the fire of this magic uraeus, behold ! when he 
came to the fields of henna, the pain of his burn was not yet assuaged, and 
the gods who were behind him said unto him : ' Sire ! let them take the 
lock of Eâ which is there, when thy Majesty shall go to see it and its mystery, 
and his Majesty shall be healed as soon as it shall be placed upon thee.' So 
the Majesty of Sibû caused the magic lock to be brought to Piarît — the lock 
for which was made that great reliquary of hard stone which is hidden in the 
secret place of Piarît, in the district of the divine lock of the Lord Eâ, — and 
behold ! this fire departed from the members of the Majesty of Sibû. And many 

1 Griffith, The Antiquities of Tell el Yahûdîyeh, in the Seventh Memoir of the Egypt Exploration 
Fund, pl. xxiv. 11. 1, 2. 

2 Ibid., ibid., pi. xxiv. 1. 24, et seq. 

3 Egyptians of all periods never shrank from such marvels. One of the tales of the Theban 
empire tells us of a piece of wax which, on being thrown into the water, changed into a living 
crocodile capable of devouring a man (Erman, Die Màrchen des Papyrus Westear, pis. iii., iv., p. 8; 
cf. Maspeho, Les Contes populaires, 2nd edit., pp. 60-G3, and Petiîie, Egyptian Tales, vol. i. pp. 11-18). 
The talismans which protected Egypt against invasion are mentioned by the Pseudo-Callisthenes 
(§ 1, Muller's edition, in the Arrianus of the Didot collection), who attributes their invention to 
Nectanebo. Arab historians often refer to them (JJ Égypte de Murtadi, Vattier's translation, pp, 2G, 
57, etc.; Maçovdi, Les Prairies d'Or, translated by Barbier de Meynard,vo1. ii. pp. 414-417). 



years afterwards, when this lock, which had thus belonged to Sibû, was 
brought back to Piarît in Aît-nobsû, and cast into the great lake of Piarît 
whose name is Aît-tostesû, the dwelling of waves, that it might be purified, 
behold ! this lock became a crocodile : it flew to the water and became Sobkû, 
the divine crocodile of Aît-nobsû." 1 In this way the gods of the solar dynasty 
from generation to generation multiplied talismans and enriched the sanc- 
tuaries of Egypt with relics. 



Were there ever duller legends and a more senile phantasy ! They 
did not spring spontaneously from the lips of the people, but were composed 
at leisure by priests desirous of enhancing the antiquity of their cult, and 
augmenting the veneration of its adherents in order to increase its importance. 
Each city wished it to be understood that its feudal sanctuary was founded 
upon the very day of creation, that its privileges had been extended or con- 
firmed during the course of the first divine dynasty, and that these pretensions 
were supported by the presence of objects in its treasury which had belonged 
to the oldest of the king-gods. 3 Such was the origin of tales in which the 
personage of the beneficent Pharaoh is often depicted in ridiculous fashion. 
Did we possess all the sacred archives, we should frequently find them quoting 
as authentic history more than one document as artificial as the chronicle 
of Aît-nobsû. When we come to the later members of the Ennead, there is 
a change in the character and in the form of these tales. Doubtless Osiris 

1 Griffith, The Antiquities of Tell el Yahûdiyeh, in the Seventh Memoir of the Egypt Exploration 
Fund, pi. xxv. 11. 14-21. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Griffith, The Antiquities of Tell el Yahûdiyeh, 
pl. xxiii. 3. The three talismans here represented are two crowns, each in a naos, and the burning 
fiery unsus. 

% * Denderah, for example, had been founded under the divine dynasties, in the time of the Servants 
of Horus (Dumichen, Bauurkunde der Tempelanlagen von Dendera, pp. 18, 19, and pi. xv. 11. 37, 38). 



and Sit did not escape unscathed out of the hands of the theologians ; but 
even if sacerdotal interference spoiled the legend concerning them, it did not 
altogether disfigure it. Here and there in it is still noticeable a sincerity 
of feeling and liveliness of imagination such as are never found in those of 
Shu and of Sibû. This arises from the fact that the functions of these gods 
left them strangers, or all but strangers, to the current affairs of the world. 
Shu was the stay, Sibû the material foundation of the world ; and so long as 
the one bore the weight of the firmament without bending, and the other 
continued to suffer the tread of human generations upon his back, the devout 
took no more thought of them than they themselves took thought of the 
devout. The life of Osiris, on the other hand, was intimately mingled with 
that of the Egyptians, and his most trivial actions immediately reacted upon 
their fortunes. They followed the movements of his waters ; they noted the 
turning-points in his struggles against drought ; they registered his yearly 
decline, yearly compensated by his aggressive returns and his intermittent 
victories over Typhon ; his proceedings and his character were the subject of 
their minute study. If his waters almost invariably rose upon the appointed 
day and extended over the black earth of the valley, this was no mechanical 
function of a being to whom the consequences of his conduct are indifferent ; 
he acted upon reflection, and in full consciousness of the service that he 
rendered. He knew that by spreading the inundation he prevented the 
triumph of the desert ; he was life, he was goodness — Onnofriti — and Isis, as 
the partner of his labours, became like him the type of perfect goodness. But 
while Osiris developed for the better, Sit was transformed for the worse, and 
increased in wickedness as his brother gained in purity and moral elevation. 
In proportion as the person of Sit grew more defined, and stood out more 
clearly, the evil within him contrasted more markedly with the innate goodness 
of Osiris, and what had been at first an instinctive struggle between two beings 
somewhat vaguely defined — the desert and the Nile, water and drought — was 
changed into conscious and deadly enmity. No longer the conflict of two 
elements, it was war between two gods ; one labouring to produce abundance, 
. while the other strove to do away with it; one being all goodness and life, 
while the other was evil and death incarnate. 

A very ancient legend narrates that the birth of Osiris and his brothers 
took place during the five additional days at the end of the year ; 1 a subsequent 

1 These five days were of peculiar importance in Egyptian eyes ; they were so many festivals 
consecrated to the worship of the dead. In a hieratic papyrus of Ramesside date (I. 346 of Leyden), 
we still have a Booh of the Five Days over and above the Year, which has heen translated and briefly 
commented upon by Chabas (Le Calendrier des jours fastes et néfastes de l'année égyptienne, pp. 
101-107). Osiris was born the first day, Haroêris the second, Sit the third, Isis the fourth, Nephthys 
the fifth; and the order indicated by the papyrus is confirmed by scattered references on the 



legend explained how Nûît and Sibû had contracted marriage against the 
express wish of Kâ, and without his knowledge. When he became aware of 
it he fell into a violent rage, and cast a spell over the goddess to prevent her 
giving birth to her children in any month of any year whatever. But Thot took 
pity upon her, and playing at draughts with the moon won from it in several 
games one seventy-second part of its fires, out of which he made five whole 
days; and as these were not included in the ordinary calendar, Nûît could then 
bring forth her five children, one after another : Osiris, Haroêris, Sît, Isis, and 
Nephthys. 1 Osiris was beautiful of face, but with a dull and black complexion ; 
his height exceeded five and a half yards. 2 He was born at Thebes, 3 in the 
first of the additional days, and straightway a mysterious voice announced that 
the lord of all — nibâ-r-zarû — had appeared. The good news was hailed with 
shouts of joy, followed by tears and lamentations when it became known with 
what evils he was menaced. 4 The echo reached llà in his far-off dwelling, and 
his heart rejoiced, notwithstanding the curse which he had laid upon Nûît. 
He commanded the presence of his great-grandchild in Xoïs, and unhesitatingly 
acknowledged him as the heir to his throne. 5 Osiris had married his sister 
Isis, even, so it was said, while both of them were still within their mother's 
womb ; 6 and when he became king he made her queen regnant and 

monuments. Thus, an inscription of the high priest Mnnkhopirrî of the XXI"' dynasty records that 
Isis was born on the fourth of these days, which coincided with the festival of Anion at the begin- 
ning of the year (Brugscii, Recueil de Monuments, vol. i. pl. xxii. 1. 9; and E. de Bougé, Études sur 
les monuments du massif de Karnak, in the Mélanges d' Archéologie, vol. i. p. 133). An inscription in 
the small temple of Apît in Thebes (Lepsius, Denhm., iv. 29) places the birth of Osiris on the first of 
the epagomenous days. 

1 All that remains to us of this legend is its Hellenized interpretation as given in De Iside et 
Osiride (Leemans* edition, § 12, pp. 18-21). But there can be no doubt that it was taken from a 
good source, like most of the tales included in this curious treatise. 

* Be Iside et Osiride (Leemans' edition, § 33, p. 57) : Tbv 5è "Oiripic al iraKtv fic\àyxpow yryovîvai 
fiv8o\oyova-iv. As a matter of fact, Osiris is often represented with black or green hands and face, 
as is customary for gods of the dead; it was probably this peculiarity which suggested the popular 
idea of his black complexion (Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2ud edit., vol. iii. p 81). A magic 
papyrus of Bamesside times fixes the stature of the god at seven cubits (Chabas, Le Papyrus magique 
Harris, pp. 11C, 117), and a phrase in a Ptolemaic inscription places it at eight cubits, six palms, 
three fingers (Dumichen, Historische Lischriften, vol. ii. pi. xxxv.). , 

3 LErsius, Denhm., iv. 29 6,53 a; Brugsch, Dictionnaire Géographique, p. 8G5. Origiually he 
was a native of Mendes (see p. 130) ; the change of his birthplace dates from the Theban supremacy. 

4 One variant of the legend told that a certain Pamylis of Thebes having gone to draw water had 
heard a voice proceeding from the temple of Zeus, which ordered him to proclaim aloud to the world 
the birth of the great king, the beneficent Osiris. He had received the child from the hands of 
Krouos, brought it up to youth, and to him the Egyptians had consecrated the feast of Pamylies, 
whicli resembled the Phallophoros festival of the Greeks {De Iside et Osiride, Leemans' edition, § 12, 
pp. 19, 20). 

5 Papyrus 3079 in the Louvre, p. ii. 11. 18. 20 ; in Pierret, Études Égyptologiques, pp. 33, 31 ; cf. 
Bkcgsch, Religion und Mythologie der alten Mgypter, pp. 627, 628. 

6 De Iside et Osiride, Leemans' edition, § 12, pp. 20, 21. Haroêris, the Apollo of the Greeks, was 
supposed to be the issue of a marriage consummated before the birth of his parents while they were 
still within the womb of tbeir mother Bhea-Nûît (De Iside et Osiride, Leemans' edition, § 12, pp. 20, 
21, and § 54, p. 7). This was a way of connecting the personage of Haroêris with the Osirian myths 
by confounding him with the homonymous Harsiêsis, the sou of Isis, who became the son of Osiris 
through his mother's marriage with that god. 



the partner of all his undertakings. The Egyptians were as yet but half 
civilized ; they were cannibals, and though occasionally they lived upon the 
fruits of the earth, they did not know how to cultivate them. Osiris taught 
them the art of making agricultural implements — the plough and the hoe, — 
field labour, the rotation of crops, the harvesting of wheat and barley, 1 and 
vine culture. 2 Isis weaned them from cannibalism, 3 healed their diseases by 
means of medicine or of magic, united women to men in legitimate marriage, 4 
and showed them how to grind grain between two fiat stones and to prepare 
bread for the household. 5 She invented the loom with the help of her sister 
Nephthys, and was the first to weave and bleach linen. 6 There was no worship 
of the gods before Osiris established it, appointed the offerings, regulated the 
order of ceremonies, and composed the texts and melodies of the liturgies. 7 
He built cities, among them Thebes itself, 8 according to some ; though others 
declared that he was born there. As he had been the model of a just and pacific 
king, so did he desire to be that of a victorious conqueror of nations ; and, placing 
the regency in the hands of Isis, he went forth to war against Asia, accom- 
panied by Thot the ibis and the jackal Anubis. He made little or no use of 
force and arms, but he attacked men by gentleness aud persuasion, softened 
them with songs in which voices were accompanied by instruments, and taught 
them also the arts which he had made known to the Egyptians. No country 
escaped his beneficent action, and he did not return to the banks of the Nile 
until he had traversed aud civilized the world from one horizon to the other. 9 

Sit-Typhon was red-haired and white-skinned, of violent, g loomy, and 
jealous temper. 10 Secretly he aspired to the crown, and nothing but the 

1 Diodorus (book i. § 14) even ascribes to him the discovery of barley and of wheat ; this is con- 
sequent upon the identification of Isis with Demeter by the Greeks. According to the historian, Leo 
of Pella (fragments 3, 4, in Muller-Didot, Fragmenta Eistoricorum Grxcorum, vol. ii. p. 331), the 
goddess twined herself a crown of ripe ears and placed it. upon her head one day when she was 
sacrificing to her parents. 

2 De Iside et Osiride (Leemans' edition), § 13, p. 21; Diodorus Siculus, book i. § 14, 15; èyw 
iropovs àuBpiiwois àvéSeiÇa (Hymn found in the island of Ios, Kaibel, Epigrarnmata Greeca, p. xxi.). In 
Avienus, Dese. Orbis, 354, and in Servies, Ad Georgicorum, i. 19. Osiris is the inventor of the plough. 

3 "Eyà fiera tov à5e\(pov 'Oalptws ras àv8pwiro(payias ïiravov (Kaibel, Epigrarnmata Grxca, p. xxi.). 

4 'Eyl ywaÎKa koI aviïpa ffvvhyaya. (Hymn of Ios, in Kaibel, Epigrarnmata Grxca, p. xxi.). 

5 Diodorus Siculus, book i. § 25; of. the medical or magic recipes ascribed to her in the Ebers 
Papyrus, pi. xlvii. 11. 5-10, and on the Metternieh Stela, Golenischeff's edition, pl. iv. 1. 4, v. 1. 100 
and pp. 10-12. 

6 This is implied among other passages in those from ihe Ritual of Embalmment, where Isis and 
Nephthys are represented as the one spinning and the other weaving linen (Maspero, Mémoire sur 
quelques papyrus du Louvre, pp. 35, 81). 

7 The first temples were raisid by Osiris and Isis (Diodorus Siculus, book i. § 15), as also the 
first images of the gods : iyii aydA/iara iVtSi/ e'5<5a£a, èyw Tefj.évn 8nûv dSpvcrdfiriv (Hymn of Ios, in 
Kaibel, Epigrarnmata Grxca, pp. xxi., xxii.). Osiris invented two of the flutes used by Egyptians 
at their feasts (Juba, fragm. 73, in Muller-Didot, Fragm. H. Grxc, vol. iii. p. 481). 

8 Baton, fragm. of the Persica in Muller-Didot, Fragm. H. Grxc, vol. iv. p. 348. 

9 Diodorus Siculus, book i. § 17-20 ; De Iside et Osiride, Leemans' edition, § 13, p. 21. 

10 The colour of his hair was compared with that of a red-haired ass, aud on that account the ass 
was sacred to him (De Iside et Osiride, § 22, 30, 31, Leemans' edition, pp. 37, 51, 52). As to his 




vigilance of Isis had kept hiin from rebellion during the absence of his 
brother. 1 The rejoicings which celebrated the king's return to Memphis 
provided Sit with his opportunity for seizing the throne. He invited Osiris 
to a banquet along with seventy- two officers whose support he had ensured, 
made a wooden chest' of cunning work- 
manship and ordered that it should be 
brought in to him, in the midst of the 
feast. As all admired its beauty, he 
sportively promised to present it to any 
one among the guests whom it should 
exactly fit. All of them tried it, one 
after another, and all unsuccessfully ; but 
when Osiris lay down within it, imme- 
diately the conspirators shut to the lid, 
nailed it firmly down, soldered it toge- 
ther with melted lead, and then threw 
it into the Tanitic branch of the Nile, 
which carried it to the sea. 2 The news 
of the crime spread terror on all sides. 
The gods friendly to Osiris feared the 

fate of their master, and hid themselves within the bodies of animals 
to escape the malignity of the new king. 4 Isis cut off her hair, rent her 
garments, and set out in search of the chest. She found it aground near the 
mouth of the river 5 under the shadow of a gigantic acacia, 6 deposited it in a 

violent and jealous disposition, see the opiuion of Diodorus Siculus, book i 21, and the picture drawn 
by Synesius in bis pamphlet jEgyptius. It was told how be tore his mother's bowels at birth, and 
made his own way into the world through lier side (De laide et Osiride, Leesians' edition, § 12, p. 20). 
1 De Iside et Osiride, Leesians' edition, § 13, p. 21. 

* The episode of the chest in which Sit shut up Osiris is briefly but quite intelligibly mentioned 
in a formula of the Harris great magic papyrus (Chaisas' edition, pp. 116, 117). 

* Drawing by Boudier of the gold group in the Louvre Museum (Pierret, Catalogue de la Salle 
Historique de la Galerie Égyptienne du Musée du Louvre, No. 24, pp. 15, 1G). The drawing is made 
from a photograph which belonged to M. de Witte, before the monument was acquired by E. de Rougé 
in 1871. The little square pillar of lapis-lazuli, upon which Osiris squats, is wrongly set up, and the 
names and titles of King Osorkon, the dedicator of the triad, are placed upside down. 

* De Iside et Osiride, Leesians' edition, § 72, p. 12G. 

5 At this point the legend of the Sai'te and Greek period interpolates a whole chapter, telling 
how the chest was carried out to sea and cast upon the Phoenician coast near to Byblos. The acacia, 
a kind of heather or broom in this case, grew up enclosing the chest within its trunk (De Iside et 
Osiride, Leesians' edition, § 15-17, pp. 25-29). This addition to the primitive legend must date from 
the XVIIF' to the XX th dynasties, when Egypt had extensive relations with the peoples of Asia. 
No trace of it whatever has hitherto been found upon Egyptian monuments strictly so called ; not 
even on the latest. 

6 A bas-relief in the little temple of Taharku, at Thebes (Puisse d'Avennes, Monuments de 
l'Égypte, pl. xxx.), represents a tree growing upon a mound, and within it is inscribed the name of 
Osiris. The story shows us that this is the Acacia (Nilotica) of the chest, beneath which the waters 
had laid the coffin of the god (Dévéria, Sur un bas-relief égyptien relatif à des textes de Plutarque, 
in the Bulletin de la Société des Antiquaires de France, 1858, 3rd series, vol. v. pp. 133-136). 

17 G 


secluded place where no one ever came, and then took refuge in Buto, her 
own domain and her native city, whose marshes protected her from the designs 
of Typhon even as in historic times they protected more than one Pharaoh 
from the attacks of his enemies. There she gave birth to the young Horus, 
nursed and reared him in secret among the reeds, far from the machinations of 
the wicked one. 1 But it happened that Sit, when hunting by moonlight, 
caught sight of the chest, opened it, and recognizing the corpse, cut it up into 
fourteen pieces, which he scattered abroad at random. Once more Isis set 
forth on her woeful pilgrimage. She recovered all the parts of the body 
excepting one only, which the oxyrhynchus had greedily devoured ; 2 and with 
the help of her sister Nephthys, her son Horus, Anubis, and Thot, she joined 
together and embalmed them, and made of this collection of his remains an 
imperishable mummy, capable of sustaining for ever the soul of a god. On his 
coming of age, Horus called together all that were left of the loyal Egyptians 
and formed them into an army. 3 His " Followers " — Shosim Hork — defeated 
the " Accomplices of Sit " — Samiû SU — who were now driven in their turn to 
transform themselves into gazelles, crocodiles and serpents, — animals which 
were henceforth regarded as unclean and Typhonian. For three days the two 
chiefs had fought together under the forms of men and of hippopotami, when 
Isis, apprehensive as to the issue of the duel, determined to bring it to an end. 
" Lo ! she caused chains to descend upon them, and made them to drop upon 
Horus. Thereupon Horus prayed aloud, saying : * I am thy son Horus ! ' Then 
Isis spake unto the fetters, saying : ' Break, and unloose yourselves from my 
son Horus ! ' She made other fetters to descend, and let them fall upon her 
brother Sit. Forthwith he lifted up his voice and cried out in pain, and she 
spake unto the fetters and said unto them : ' Break ! ' Yea, when Sit prayed 
unto her many times, saying : ' Wilt thou not have pity upon the brother 
of thy son's mother ? ' then her heart was filled with compassion, and she cried 
to the fetters : ' Break, for he is my eldest brother ! ' and the fetters unloosed 

1 The opening illustration of this chapter (p. 155) is taken from a monument at Phike, and depicts 
Isis among the reeds. The representation of the goddess as squatting upon a mat probably gave 
rise to the legend of the floating isle of Khemmis, which of Miletus (fragm. 284 in 
Muller-Didot, Fragm. Hist. Grsec, vol. i. p. 20) had seen upon the lake of Buto, but whose existence 
was denied by Herodotus (ii. 156) notwithstanding the testimony of Hecatœus. 

2 This part of the legend was so thoroughly well known, that by the time of the XIX th dynasty 
it suggested incidents in popular literature. When Bitiû, the hero of The Tale of the Two Brothers, 
mutilated himself to avoid the suspicion of adultery, he cast his bleeding member into the water, and 
the Oxyrhynchus devoured it (Maspero, Les Contes populaires de V antique Égypte, 2nd edit., p. 15). 

3 Towards the Grecian period there was here interpolated an account of how Osiris had returned 
from the world of the dead to arm his son and train him to fight. According to this tale he had 
asked Horus which of all animals seemed to him most useful in time of war, and Horus chose the 
horse rather than the lion, because the lion avails for the weak or cowardly in need of help, whereas 
the horse is used for the pursuit and destruction of the enemy. Judging from this reply that Horus 
was ready to dare all, Osiris allowed him to enter upon the war (De Lide et Osiride, LeemanV 
edition, § 19, pp. 30-31). The mention of the horse affords sufficient proof that this episode is of 
comparatively late origin (cf. p. 32, note 2, for the date at which the horse was acclimatized in Egypt). 



themselves from him, and the two foes again stood face to face like two men 
who will not come to terms. " Horus, furious at seeing his mother deprive 
him of his prey, turned upon her like a panther of the South. 
She fled before him on that day when battle was waged with 
Sit the Violent, and he cut off her head. But Thot trans- 
formed her by his enchantments and made a cow's head for her," 
thereby identifying her with her companion, Hâthor. 1 The 
war went on, with all its fluctuating fortunes, till the gods 
at length decided to summon both rivals before their tribunal. 
According to a very ancient tradition, the combatants chose 
the ruler of a neighbouring city, Thot, lord of Hermopolis 
Parva, 2 as the arbitrator of their quarrel. Sit was the first 
to plead, and he maintained that Horus was not the son of 
Osiris, but a bastard, whom Isis had conceived after the death 
of her husband. Horus triumphantly vindicated the legiti- 
macy of his birth ; and Thot condemned Sit to restore, accord- 
ing to some, the whole of the inheritance which he had wrongly 
retained, — according to others, part of it only. The gods ratified 
the sentence, and awarded to the arbitrator the title of Vayi- 
rahuhid: he who judges between two parties. A legend of 
more recent origin, and circulated after the worship of Osiris 
had spread over all Egypt, affirmed that the case had remained 
within the jurisdiction of Sibû, who was father to the one, and 
grandfather to the other party. Sibû, however, had pronounced isis "he™°£'3 COW " 
the same judgment as Thot, and divided the kingdom into 
halves— poshûi ; Sit retained the valley from the neighbourhood of Memphis 
to the first cataract, while Horus entered into possession of the Delta. 4 Egypt 
henceforth consisted of two distinct kingdoms, of which one, that of the North, 

1 Sallier Papyrus IV., pl. ii. I. 6, et seq. ; Chabas, Le Calendrier des jours fastes et véfastes de 
l'année égyptienne, pp. 28-30, 128. The same story is told iu De Iside et Osiride (Leemans' edition, 
§ 19, p. 32, cf. § 20). 

: The Greek form of the tradition represents Thot as having been the advocate and not the 
arbitrator (De Iside et Osiride, Leemans' edition, § 19, p. 32). The very title of Uapùrahûhûi itself 
implies that Thot was actually the judge of the dispute. Rahûhû strictly means comrade, companion, 
partner (E. von Bergmann, Inschriftliche Denkmâler der Sammlung Sgyplischen Alter lliiimer, in the 
Recueil de Travaux, vol. is. p. 57, note 2 ; and Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 82, 83). 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bronze statuette of Sai'te period iu the Gîzeh Museum 
(Mariette, Album photographique du musée de Boulaq, pl. 5, No. 167). 

4 This legend was discovered by Goodwin (Upon an Inscription of the reign of Shabalca, in Chabas, 
Melanges e'gyptologiques, 3rd series, vol, i. pp. 246-285) in a British Museum text published by Sharps 
(Egyptian Inscriptions, 1st series, pis. xxxvi.-xxxviii.). The only known copy dates no earlier than 
the reign of Sabaco, but a note by the Egyptian scribe informs us that it was copied from a very 
ancient monument. Reference is also made to the reconciliation of the two foes in De Iside et Osiride 
(Leemans' edition, § 55, p. 98). 




recognized Horus, the son of Isis, as its patron deity ; and the other, that of 
the South, placed itself under the protection of Sît Nûbîti, the god of Ombos. 1 
The moiety of Horus, added to that of Sît, formed the kingdom which Sibû 
had inherited ; but his children failed to keep it together, though it was after- 
wards reunited under Pharaohs of human race. 2 

The three gods who preceded Osiris upon the throne had ceased to reign, 
but not to live. Kâ had taken refuge in heaven, disgusted with his own 
creatures ; Shû had disappeared in the midst of a tempest ; 3 and Sibû had 
quietly retired within his palace when the time of his sojourning upon earth 
had been fulfilled. Not that there was no death, for death, too, together with 
all other things and beings, had come into existence in the beginning, but 
while cruelly persecuting both man and beast, had for a while respected the 
gods. Osiris was the first among them to be struck down, and hence to require 
funeral rites. He also was the first for whom family piety sought to provide 
a happy life beyond the tomb. Though he was king of the living and the 
dead at Mendes by virtue of the rights of all the feudal gods in their own 
principalities, his sovereignty after death exempted hiin no more than the 
meanest of his subjects from that paiuful torpor into which all mortals fell 
on breathing their last. But popular imagination could not resign itself to 
his remaining in that miserable state for ever. What would it have profited 
him to have Isis the great Sorceress for his wife, the wise Horus for his 
son, two master-magicians — Thot the Ibis and the jackal Anubis — for his 
servants, if their skill had not availed to ensure him a less gloomy and 
less lamentable after-life than that of men. Anubis had long before invented 
the art of mummifying, 4 and his mysterious science had secured the ever- 
lasting existence of the flesh ; but at what a price ! For the breathing, 
warm, fresh-coloured body, spontaneous in movement and function, was sub- 
stituted an immobile, cold and blackish mass, a sufficient basis for the 
mechanical continuity of the double, but which that double could neither 
raise nor guide ; whose weight paralysed and whose inertness condemned it 

1 Another form of the legend gives the 27th Athyr as the date of the judgment, assigning Egypt 
to Horus, and to Sît Nuhia, or Dotshirît, the red land (Sallier Papyrus IV., pl. ix. 1. 4, et seq.). It 
must have arisen towards the age of the XVIII th dynasty, at a time when their piety no longer 
allowed the devout to admit that the murderer of Osiris could be the legitimate patron of half 
the country. So the half belonging to Sît was then placed either in Nubia or in the western desert, 
which had, indeed, been reckoned as his domain from earliest times. 

2 Sît and Horus, as gods of South and North, are sometimes called the two Horuses, and their 
kingdoms the two halves of the two Huruses. Examples of these phrases have been collected by 
Ed. Meyer, in Set-Typhon, pp. 31-40, where their meaning is not sufficiently clearly explained. 

3 Griffith, The Antiquities of Tell-el-Yaltûdiyeh, in the Seventh Memoir of the Egypt Exploration 
Fund, pi. xxv. 11. 6-8. We may here noLe the most ancient known reference to the tempest whose 
tumult hid from men the disappearance or apotheosis of kings who had ascended alive into heaven. 
Cf. e.g. the story of Itomulus. 

4 See chap. ii. p. 112, et seq., on embalmment by Anubis. 


to vegetate in darkness, without pleasure and almost without consciousness of 
existence. Thot, Isis, and Horus applied themselves in the case of Osiris to 
ameliorating the discomfort and constraint entailed by the more primitive 
embalmment. They did not dispense with the manipulations instituted 
by Anubis, but endued them with new power by means of magic. They 


inscribed the principal bandages with protective figures and formulas ; they 
decorated the body with various amulets of specific efficacy for its different 
parts ; they drew numerous scenes of earthly existence and of the life beyond 
the tomb upon the boards of the coffin and upon the walls of the sepulchral 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Kosellini, Monumenti Civili, pi. cxxxiv. 2. While Anubis is 
stretching out his bauds to lay out the mummy on its couch, the soul is hovering above its breast, 
and holding to its nostrils the sceptre, and the wind-filled sail which is the emblem of breath and of 
the new life. 



chamber. 1 When the body had been made imperishable, they sought to 
restore one by one all the faculties of which their previous operations had 
deprived it. The mummy was set up at the entrance to the vault; the 
statue representing the living person was placed beside it, and semblance was 
made of opening the mouth, eyes, and ears, of loosing the arms and legs, 
of restoring breath to the throat and movement to the heart. The incan- 
tations by which these acts were severally accompanied were so powerful that 
the god spoke and ate, lived and heard, and could use his limbs as freely as 
though he had never been steeped in the bath of the embalmer. 2 He might 



have returned to his place among men, and various legends prove that he did 
occasionally appear to his faithful adherents. But, as his ancestors before him, 
he preferred to leave their towns and withdraw into his own domain. The ceme- 
teries of the inhabitants of Busiris and of Mendes were called Sokhît Ialîi, the 
Meadow of Beeds, and Sokhît Hotpû, the Meadow of Best. 4 They were secluded 
amid the marshes, in small archipelagoes of sandy islets where the dead bodies, 
piled together, rested in safety from the inundations. 5 This was the first kingdom 

1 The incantations accompanying the various operations were described in the Bitual of Em- 
balmment, of which we possess the conclusion only (Mariette, Papyrus égyptiens du musée de Botdaq, 
vol. i. pis. vi.-xiv. ; Df.vèria, Catalogue des Manuscrits égyptiens qui sont conservés au Musée Égyptien 
du, Louvre, pp. 168, 169 ; Maspero, Mémoire sur quelques papyrus du, Louvre, pp. 14-104). 

2 The Boole of the Opening of the Mouth, which describes these ceremonies, has been published, 
translated and commented upon by E. Schiaparelli, B Libro dei Funerali dei Antichi Egiziani. 
There are long extracts from this book in the pyramids of the V" 1 and VI"' dynasties and iu 
many Memphite and Theban tombs, especially in the tomb of Petemenophis, which dates from the 
XXVI th dynasty (Dumichen, Per Grabpalast des Patuamenap \in der Thebanischen Nekropolis, i., 
ii.). A large portion has been studied by Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie 
Egyptiennes, vol. i. p. 283, et seq. 

! Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a painting in the tomb of a king in the Theban necropolis 
(Rosellini, Monumenti civili, pi. cxxix. No. 1 ; Champollion, Monuments de VÉgypte et de la Nubie, 
pl. clxxviii. ; Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. iii. pi. lxviii.). 

* Lauth, Aus JEqyptens Vorzeit, p. 53, et seq., was the first to point out this important fact in the 
history of Egyptian doctrine. Cf. Bkugsch, Dictionnaire géographique, pp. 61, 62, and Beligion und 
Mythologie der alten Mgypier, pp. 175, 176; Masiero, Etudes de Mythologie, etc., vol. ii. pp. 12-16. 

5 On the discovery of certain of these island cemeteries by the Arabs, see a passage by E. 
Quatremèke, Mémoires historiques et géographiques sur l'Egypte, vol. i. pp. 331, 332. 


of the dead Osiris, but it was soon placed elsewhere, as the nature of the sur- 
rounding districts and the geography of the adjacent countries became better 
known ; at first perhaps on the Phoenician shore beyond the sea, and then 
in the sky, in the Milky Way, between the North and the East, but nearer 
to the North than to the East. 1 This kingdom was not gloomy and mournful 


like that of the other dead gods, Sokaris or Khontamentît, but was lighted 
by sun arid moon ; 8 the heat of the day was tempered by the steady breath 
of the north wind, and its crops grew and throve abundantly. 4 Thick walls 
served as fortifications against the attacks of Sit and evil genii; 5 a palace 

1 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et de Archéologie Êqyptitnnes, vol. i. p. 336, et seq. ; and vol. ii. 
pp. 15, 16. It was then that the Milky Way in the sky came to be considered as belonging to Kâ, 
as we have seen on p. 168. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Daniel Ile'ron, laken in 1881 in tho temple of 
Seti I. at Abydos. 

3 The vignettes on pp. 192, 194, taken from the funerary papyrus of Nebhopît in Turin, show us 
the fields of Ialtt lighted by the rayed disc of the sun and by that of the moon (Lanzone, Dizionario 
di Mitologia Egizia, pi. v.). 

' It is described in chap. ex. of the Book of the Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. exxi.-exxiii. ; 
cf. Lepsics, Todtenbuch, pi. xli.), where there is also a kind of picture map giving the main groups of 
the celestial archipelago, together with the names of the islands andof the channels which separate them. 

i Book of the Dead, chap. cix. (Naville's edition, vol. i. pl. cxx. 1. 7 ; cf. LErsius, Todtenbuch, pi. 
xxxix. chap. 109, 1. 4). Lauth (Aus JEgyptens Vorzeit, pp. 56-61) connects the name of Egyptian 
fortresses, Anbû, Teîxoî, given to the walls of Ialu, with that of the island of Elbô in the marshes of 
Bûto, which current tradition of the Sai'te period made the refuge of the blind Anysis throughout the 
whole duration of the Ethiopian dominion, and whose site was afterwards entirely unknown until the 
<lay that the Pharaoh Amyitœus flew thither to escape from the Persian generals (Herodotus, ii. 140). 



like that of the Pharaohs stood in the midst of delightful gardens ; 1 and there, 
among his own people, Osiris led a tranquil existence, enjoying in succession 
all the pleasures of earthly life without any of its pains. 

The goodness which had gained him the title of Onnophris 2 while he 
sojourned here below, inspired him with the desire and suggested the means of 
opening the gates of his paradise to the souls of his former subjects. Souls did 
not enter into it unexamined, nor without trial. Each of them had first to 

prove that during its earthly life it had 
belonged to a friend, or, as the Egyptian 
texts have it, to a vassal of Osiris — 
amakluï khir Osiri — one of those who had 
served Horus in his exile and had rallied 
to his banner from the very beginning of 
the Typhonian wars. These were those 
followers of Horus — Shosûû Horn — so 
often referred to in the literature of his- 
toric times. 3 Horus, their master, having 
loaded them with favours during life, de- 
cided to extend to them after death the 
same privileges which he had conferred 
upon his father. He convoked around 
the corpse the gods who had worked with him at the embalmment of Osiris : 
Anubis and Thot, Isis and Nephthys, and his four children — Hâpi, Qabhsonûf, 
Amsît, and Tiûmaûtf — to whom he had entrusted the charge of the heart and 
viscera. They all performed their functions exactly as before, repeated the 
same ceremonies, and recited the same formulas at the same stages of the 
operations, and so effectively that the dead man became a real Osiris under 
their hands, having a true voice, and henceforth combining the name of the god 
with his own. He had been Sakhomka or Menkaûrî ; he became the Osiris 
Sakhomka, or the Osiris Menkaûrî, true of voice. 5 Horus and his com- 
panions then celebrated the rites consecrated to the " Opening of the Mouth 
and the Eyes : " animated the statue of the deceased, and placed the mummy 

1 The description of the pylons of Ialû is the subject of a special chapter in the Booh of the Dead, 
chap. cxlv. (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. clvi.-clix. ; cf. Lepsius, Todtenbueh, pis. Ixi.-lxv.). 

2 Of. the explanation given on p. 172 of Onnophris as the cognomen of Osiris. 

3 Cf. p. 176. The Followers of Horus, i.e. those who had followed Horus during the Typhonian 
wars, are mentioned in a Turin fragment of the Canon of the Kings, in which the author sum- 
marizes the chronology of the divine period (Lepsius, Auswahl der wichtigsten Urhunden, pi. iii. 
fragm. 1, 11. 9, 10). Like the reign of Eâ, the time in which the followers of Horus were supposed 
to have lived was for the Eg3 r ptians of classic times the ultimate point beyond which history did not 

4 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Na ville, Das JEgyptische Todtenbueh, vol. i. pl.cxxviii. hi. 
s See pp. 145, 146 for the true voice and the importance which the Egyptians attached to it. 

the deceased climbing the slope op the 
mountain of the west. 4 


in the tomb, where Anubis received it in his arms. Recalled to life and 
movement, the double reassumetl, one by one, all the functions of beiDg, 
came and went and took part in the ceremonies of the worship which was 
rendered to him in his tomb. There he might be seen accepting the homage 
of his kindred, and clasping to his breast his soul under the form of a great 
human-headed bird with features 
the counterpart of his own. After 
being equipped with the formulas 
and it mulets wherewith his pro- 
totype, Osiris, 1 had been fur- 
nished, he set forth to seek the 
" Field of Reeds." The way was 
long and arduous, strewn with 
perils to which he must have suc- 
cumbed at the very first stages 
had he not been carefully warned 
beforehand and armed against 
them. 2 A papyrus placed with 
the mummy in its coffin con- 
tained the needful topographical 
directions and passwords, in order 
that he might neither stray nor 


perish by the way. The wiser 

Egyptians copied out the principal chapters for themselves, or learned 
them by heart while yet in life, in order to be prepared for the life 
beyond. Those who had not taken this precaution studied after death the 
copy with which they were provided ; and since few Egyptians could read, 
a priest, or relative of the deceased, preferably his son, recited the prayers 
in the mummy's ear, that he might learn them before he was carried away 
to the cemetery. If the double obeyed the prescriptions of the " Book 
of the Dead " to the letter, he reached his goal without fail.* On leaving 
the tomb he turned his back on the valley, and staff in hand climbed the 

1 The uaraes of Khû âpirû, " the equipped Manes," and Khû aqirû, " the instructed Manes," often 
met with in the inscriptions of funerary stelaî, arose from the care which was taken to equip the 
dead with amuiets, and instruct them in formulas (Maspeko, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie 
Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 317 ; and Rapport sur une Mission en Italie, in the Recueil, vol. iii. pp. 
105, 106). 

2 Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 362, et seq. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Guieysse-Lefébure, Le Papyrus de Soutimès, pl. viii. The out- 
lines of the original have unfortunately been restored and enfeebled by the copyist. 

4 Manuscripts of this work represent about nine-tenths of the papyri hitherto discovered. They 
are not all equally full ; complete copies are still relatively scarce, and most of those found witli 
mummies contain nothing but extracts of varying length. The book itself was studied by 



hills which bounded it on the west, plunging boldly into the desert, 1 where, 
some bird, or even a kindly insect such as a praying mantis, a grasshopper, or 

de. 2 Soon he came to one 
in the sand far away from 
the Nile, and are regarded 
as magic trees by the fel- 
lahîn. 3 Out of the foliage 
a goddess — Nûît, Hâthor, 
or Mt — half emerged, and 
offered him a dish of fruit, 
loaves of bread, and a jar 
of water. By accepting 
these gifts he became the 
guest of the goddess, and 
could never more retrace 
his steps 4 without special 
permission. Beyond the 
sycamore were lands of terror, infested by serpents and ferocious beasts, 6 furrowed 
by torrents of boiling water, 7 intersected by ponds and marshes where gigantic 

Champollton, who called it the Funerary Ritual ; Lepsius afterwards gave it the less definite name of 
Book of the Dead, which seems likely to prevail. It has been chiefly known from the hieroglyphic copy 
at Turin, which Lepsius traced and had lithographed in 1841, under the title of Das Todtenbuch der 
JEgypter. In 1865 E. de Kougé began to publish a hieratic copy in the Louvre, but since 1886 
there has been a critical edition of manuscripts of the THeban period most carefully collated by 
E. Naville, Das Mgxjptische Todtenbuch der XVIII bis XX Dynastie, Berlin, 1886, 2 vols, of plates 
in folio, and 1 vol. of Introduction in 4to. On this edition see Maspero, Études de Mythologie et 
d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 325-387. 

1 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 345. 

2 Lepsius, Aelteste Texte, pl. 14, 11. 41, 42 ; Maspero, Quatre Années de fouilles,va. the Mémoires de 
la Mission du Caire, vol. i. p. 165, 11. 468, 469; and p. 178, 1. 744. "My guide is the syren, var. my 
guides are the syrens." The syren is the little green bird common in the Theban plain, and well 
known to tourists, which runs along in front of the asses and seems to show travellers the way. Ou 
this question of bird or insect as the guide of souls in the other world, see Lepage-Kenouf, A Second 
Note, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 1891-92, vol. xiv. p. 398, et seq. ; and 
Lefébure, Étude sur Abydos {Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 1892-93, vol. xv. 
p. 135, et seq.). 

3 See the account of magical trees in chap. ii. pp. 121, 122. 

4 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 224-227. It wa3 not in 
Egypt alone that the fact of accepting food offered by a god of the dead constituted a recognition of 
suzerainty, and prevented the human soul from returning to the world of- the living. Traces of this 
belief are found everywhere, in modern as in ancient times, and E. B. Tylor has collected numerous 
examples of the same in Primitive Culture, 2nd edit., vol. ii. pp. 47, 51, 52. 

5 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a facsimile by De'vèria (E. de Kougé, Études sur le Rituel 
Funéraire, pl. iv. No. 4). Ignorant souls fished for by the cynocephali are here represented as fish ; 
but the soul of Nofirûbnû, instructed in the protective formulas, preserves its human form. 

6 Chaps xxxi. and xxxii. of the Boole of the Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. xliv., xlv.) 
protect the deceased against crocodiles; chaps, xxxv.-xl. (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. xlvi.-liv.) 
enable him to repel all manner of reptiles, both small and great. 

' The vignette of chap, lxiii. B (Naville's edition, vol. i. pi. lxxiv.) shows us the deceased 
calmly crossing a river of boiling water which rises above his ankle. In chap, lxiii. A 


monkeys cast their nets. 1 Ignorant souls, or those ill prepared for the struggle, 
had no easy work before them when they imprudently entered upon it. Those 
who were not overcome by hunger and thirst at the outset were bitten by a 


uraeus, or horned viper, hidden with evil intent below the sand, and perished 
in convulsions from the poison ; or crocodiles seized as many of them as they 
could lay hold of at the fords of rivers ; or cynocephali netted and devoured 
them indiscriminately along with the fish into which the partisans of Typhon 
were transformed. They came safe and sound out of one peril only to fall into 
another, and infallibly succumbed before they were half through their journey. 
But, on the other hand, the double who was equipped and instructed, and armed 
with the true voice, confronted each foe with the phylactery and the incan- 
tation by which his enemy was held in check. As soon as he caught sight of 

(Naville's edition, vol. i. pi. lxxiii.) he is drinking the hot water, without scalding either hand or 

1 Chap, clxiii. (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. clxxvi.-clxxviii. ; cf. E. de Rougé, Éludes sur le 
Rituel Funéraire des Anciens Égyptiens, p. 35, pis. iv., v.). The cynocephali thus employed are 
probably those who hailed the setting sun near Abydos, when he entered upon the first hour of the 
night. Cf. pp. 82, 83, 103. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a coloured plate in Rosellini, Nonumenti civili, pi. cxxxiv. 3. 



one of them he recited the appropriate chapter from his book, ne loudly 
proclaimed himself Eâ, Tûmû, Horus, or Khopri — that god whose name and 
attributes were best fitted to repel the immediate danger — and flames withdrew 
at his voice, monsters fled or sank paralysed, the most cruel of genii drew in 
their claws and lowered their arms before him. He compelled crocodiles to 
turn away their heads ; he transfixed serpents with his lance ; he supplied him- 
self at pleasure with all the provisions that he needed, and gradually ascended 

the mountains which surround the world, some- 
times alone, and fighting his way step by step, 
sometimes escorted by beneficent divinities. Half- 
way up the slope was the good cow Hâthor, the 
lady of the West, in meadows of tall plants where 
every evening she received the sun at his setting. 1 
If the dead man knew how to ask 
it according to the prescribed 
rite, she would take him upon her 
shoulders 2 and carry him across 
the accursed countries at full speed. 
Having reached the North, he 
paused at the edge of an immense 
lake, the lake of Kha, and saw in the far distance the outline of the Islands 
of the Blest. One tradition, so old as to have been almost forgotten in 
Ramesside times, told how Thot the ibis there" awaited him, and bore him away 
on his wings ; 4 another, no less ancient but of more lasting popularity, declared 
that a ferry-boat plied regularly between the solid earth and the shores of para- 
dise. 5 The god who directed it questioned the dead, and the bark itself proceeded 
to examine them before they were admitted on board ; for it was a magic bark. 
" Tell me my name," cried the mast ; and the travellers replied : " He who guides 


1 See the different vignettes of chap, clxxxvi. of the Booh of the Dead, as colloeicd by Naville in 
his edition {Das JEgyptische Todtenbuch, vol. i. pi. ccxii.). Sometimes the whole cow is drawn ; 
sometimes it is shown only as half emerging from the arid slopes of the Libyan range. 

2 Coffins of the XX th and XXI s ' dynasties, with a yellow ground, often display this scene, of which 
there is a good example in Lanzone's Dizionario di Mitologia, pi. cccxxii. °2, taken from a coffin 
in Leyden (cf. p. 187). Generally the scene is found beneath the feet of the dead, at the lower end 
of the cartonage, and the cow is represented as carrying off at a gallop the mummy who is lying on 
her back. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Naville (Das JEgyptiscle Todtenbuch, vol. i. pi. 
iii. P b). The commonest enemies of the dead were various kinds of serpents. 

4 It is often mentioned in the Pyramid texts, and inspired one of the most obscure chapters among 
them (Teti, 11. 185-200 ; cf. Recueil de Travaux,\o\. v. pp. 22, 23). It seems that the ibis had to fight 
with Sit for right of passage. 

5 This tradition, like the former, is often found in the Pyramids, e.g. in three formulas, where the 
god who guides the boat is invoked, and informed why it is incumbent upon him to give a good 
reception to the deceased (Tapi I., 11. 396-411 ; cf. Recueil de Travaux, vol. vii. pp. 161-163). 



the great goddess on her way is thy name." " Tell me my name," repeated the 
braces. " The Spine of the Jackal Ûapûaîtû is thy name." " Tell me my 
name," proceeded the mast-head. " The Neck of Amsît is thy name." " Tell me 
my name," asked the sail. " Nûît is thy name." Each part of the hull and of 
the rigging spoke in turn and questioned the applicant regarding its name, this 
being generally a mystic phrase by which it was identified either Avith some 
divinity as a whole, or else 
with some part of his body. 
When the double had estab- 
lished his right of passage by 
the correctness of his answers, 
the bark consented to receive 
him and to carry him to the 
further shore. 1 

There he was met by the 
gods and goddesses of the 
court of Osiris : by Anubis, 
by Hâthor the lady of the 
cemetery, by Nit, by the 
two Mâîts who preside over 
justice and truth, and by 
the four children of Horus stiff-sheathed in their mummy wrappings. 3 They 
formed as it were a guard of honour to introduce him and his winged guide * 
into an immense hall, the ceiling of which rested on light graceful columns of 
painted wood. At the further end of the hall Osiris was seated in mysterious 
twilight within a shrine through whose open doors he might be seen wearing a 
red necklace over his close-fitting case of white bandaging, his green face sur- 
mounted by the tall white diadem flanked by two plumes, his slender hands 

1 Chap. xcix. of the Boole of the Dead (Navillk's edition, vol. i. pis. cx.-cxii.) is entirely devoted 
to the bringing of the bark and the long interrogatories which it involves. Cf. Maspeko, Etudes de 
Mythologie et d' 'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 374-37G. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a coloured facsimile published by Leemans, Monuments 
Egyptiens du Musée d'Antiquités des Pays-Bas à Leyden, part iii. pl. xii. 

3 All the scenes preceding and accompanying the judgment of the dead are frequently depicted 
on the outside of the yellow-varnished mummy cases of the XX th to the XXVI" 1 dynasties. Museums 
abound in these monuments, which have hitherto been neither published nor studied as they deserve. 
The one from which I have taken my description of the scenes and the legends partly translated 
in the text, is in the Clot-Bey collection, and belongs to the Marseilles Museum. It is noticed in 
Maspeko, Catalogue du Musée Égyptien de Marseille, pp. 3G-39. 

* Boole of the Deed, chap, lxxvi. (Naville's edition, vol. i. pl. lxxxviii. II. 1, 2 ; cf. Lepsius, Todten- 
buch, chap, lxxvi. 1. 1) :." I enter into the Palace of the Prince, for the Bird is my guide." See also 
chap. civ. (Naville's edition, vol. i. pi. cxvi. 11. 4, 5. Cf. Lepage-Renocf, A Second Note (in the 
Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, vol. xiv. pp. 399, 400), and Lefébure, Étude sur 
Abydos {id., vol. xv. pp. 143, 144). 


grasping flail and crook, the emblems of his power. Behind him stood Isis and 
Nephthys watching over him with uplifted hands, bare bosoms, and bodies 
straitly cased in linen. Forty-two jurors who had died and been restored 
to life like their lord, and who had been chosen, one from each of those cities 
of Egypt which recognized his authority, squatted right and left, and motion- 
less, clothed in the wrappings of the dead, silently waited until they were 
addressed. The soul first advanced to the foot of the throne, carrying on its 


outstretched hands the image of its heart or of its eyes, agents and accomplices 
of its sins and virtues. It humbly "smelt the earth," then arose, and with 
uplifted hands recited its profession of faith. 2 "Hail unto you, ye lords of Truth ! 
hail to thee, great god, lord of Truth and Justice ! I have come before thee, my 
master ; I have been brought to see thy beauties. For I know thee, I know thy 
name, I know the names of thy forty-two gods who are with thee in the Hall 
of the Two Truths, living on the remains of sinners, gorging themselves with 
their blood, in that day when account is rendered before Onnophris, the true of 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from pi. cxxxvi. Ag of Naville's Das Thebanische Todtenbuch. 

s This forms chap. cxxv. of the Boole of the Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. exxxiii.-exxxix.), 
a chapter which Chamtollion pointed out to the notice of scholars, and interpreted (Explication de 
la principale scène peinte des Papyrus Funéraires Égyptiens, in the Bulletin Universel des Sciences et de 
l'Industrie, sect. viii. vol. iv. pp. 347-356). A special edition of this chapter, accompanied by a 
translation and philological commentary, was published by W. Pleyte, Étude sur le chapitre 125 du 
Rituel Funéraire, Leyden, 1866, 



voice. Thy name which is thine is ' the god whose two twins are the ladies of 
the two Truths ; ' and I, I know you, ye lords of the two Truths, I bring unto 
you Truth, I have destroyed sins for you. I have not committed iniquity 
against men ! I have not oppressed the poor ! I have not made defalcations 
in the necropolis ! I have not laid labour upon any free man beyond that 
which he wrought for himself ! I have not transgressed, I have not been weak. 
I have not defaulted, Ï have not committed that which is an abomination to 


the gods . I have not caused the slave to be ill-treated of his master ! I 
have not starved any man, I have not made any to weep, I have not assassi- 
nated any man, I have not caused any man to be treacherously assassinated, 
and I have not committed treason against any ! I have not in aught diminished 
the supplies of temples ! I have not spoiled the shewbread of the gods ! I 
have not taken away the loaves and the wrappings of the dead ! I have done 
no carnal act within the sacred enclosure of the temple ! I have not blas- 
phemed ! I have in nought curtailed the sacred revenues ! I have not 
pulled down the scale of the balance ! I have not falsified the beam of the 
balance! I have not taken away the milk from the mouths of sucklings ! I 
have not lassoed cattle on their pastures ! I have not taken with nets the 
birds of the gods ! I have not fished in their ponds ! I have not turned back 
the water in its season ! I have not cut off a water-channel in its course ! I 



have not put out the fire in its time ! I have not defrauded the Nine 
Gods of the choice part of victims ! I have not ejected the oxen of the 
gods ! I have not turned back the god at his coming forth ! I am 
pure ! I am pure ! I am pure ! I am pure ! Pure as this Great Bonû of 
Heracleopolis is pure ! . . . There is no crime against me in this land of the 
Double Truth ! Since I know the names of the gods who are with thee in 
the Hall of the Double Truth, save thou me from them ! " He then turned 
towards the jury and pleaded his cause before them. They had been severally 
appointed for the cognizance of particular sins, and the dead man took each 
of them bv name to witness that he was innocent of the sin which that one 
recorded. His plea ended, he returned to the supreme judge, and repeated, 
under what is sometimes a highly mystic form, the ideas which he had already 
advanced in the first part of his address. " Hail unto you, ye gods who 
are in the Great Hall of the Double Truth, who have no falsehood in your 
bosoms, but who live on Truth in Aûnû, and feed your hearts upon it before 
the Lord God who dwelleth in his solar disc ! Deliver me from the Typhon 
who feedeth on entrails, chiefs! in tais hour of supreme judgment; — grant 
that the deceased may come unto you, he who hath not sinned, who hath 
neither lied, nor done evil, nor committed any crime, who hath not borne false 
witness, who hath done nought against himself, but who liveth on truth, who 
feedeth on truth. He hath spread joy on all sides ; men speak of that which 
he hath done, and the gods rejoice in it. He hath reconciled the god to him 
by his love ; he hath given bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothing 
to the naked ; he hath given a boat to the shipwrecked ; he hath offered 
sacrifices to the gods, sepulchral meals unto the manes. Deliver him from 
himself, speak not against him before the Lord of the Dead, for his mouth is 
pure, and his two hands are pure ! " In the middle of the Hall, however, his acts 
were being weighed by the assessors. Like all objects belonging to the gods, the 
balance is magic, and the genius which animates it sometimes shows its fine and 
delicate little human head on the top of the upright stand which forms its body. 1 
Everything about the balance recalls its superhuman origin : a cynocephalus, 
emblematic of Thot, sits perched on the upright and watches the beam ; the 
cords which suspend the scales are made of alternate cruces ansatœ and tats' 1 

1 The souls of objects thus animated are not uufrequently mentioned and depicted in the Booh 
of knowing that which is in Hades. Their heads emerge from the material bodies to which they 
belong while the Sun-god is passing by, to draw in when he has disappeared, and their bodies 
reabsorb, or eat them (cf. p. 83, note 4), according to the energetic expression of the Egyptian 
text (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 101, 105, 106, 
124, etc.). 

2 See the amulet called Tat or Didû, as represented on p. 130 (cf. p. S4, note 3). 



Truth squats upon one of the scales ; Thot, ibis-headed, places the heart 
on the other, and always merciful, bears upon the side of Truth that judgment 
may be favourably inclined. He affirms that the heart is light of offence, 
inscribes the result of the proceeding upon a wooden tablet, and pronounces 
the verdict aloud. " Thus saith Thot, lord of divine discourse, scribe of the 
Great Ennead, to his father Osiris, lord of eternity, ' Behold the deceased 
in this Hall of the Double Truth, his heart hath been weighed in the balance 
in the presence of the great genii, the lords of Hades, and been found 
true. No trace of earthly impurity hath been found in his heart. Now that 
he leaveth the tribunal true of voice, his heart is restored to him, as well 
as his eyes and the material cover of his heart, to be put back in their places 
each in its own time, his soul in heaven, his heart in the other world, as is the 
custom of the ' Followers of Horus.' Henceforth let his body lie in the hands 
of Anubis, who presideth over the tombs ; let him receive offerings at the 
cemetery in the presence of Onnophris ; let him be as one of those favourites 
who follow thee ; let his soul abide where it will in the necropolis of his city, 
he whose voice is true before the Great Ennead.'" 1 

In this " Negative Confession," which the worshippers of Osiris taught to 
their dead, all is not equally admirable. The material interests of the temple 
were too prominent, and the crime of killing a sacred goose or stealing a loaf 
from the bread offerings was considered as abominable as calumny or murder. 
But although it contains traces of priestly cupidity, yet how many of its pre- 
cepts are untarnished in their purity by any selfish ulterior motive ! In it is 
all our morality in germ, and with refinements of delicacy often lacking among 
peoples of later and more advanced civilizations. The god does not confine his 
favour to the prosperous and the powerful of this world ; he bestows it also 
upon the poor. His will is that they be fed and clothed, and exempted from 
tusks beyond their strength ; that they be not oppressed, and that unnecessary 
tears be spared them. If this does not amount to the love of our neighbour 
as our religions preach it, at least it represents the careful solicitude due from 
a good lord to his vassals. His pity extends to slaves ; not only does he com- 
mand that no one should ill-treat them himself, but he forbids that their 
masters should be led to ill-treat them. This profession of faith, one of the 
noblest bequeathed us by the old world, is of very ancient origin. It may 
be read in scattered fragments upon the monuments of the first dynasties, 
and the way in which its ideas are treated by the compilers of these inscrip- 
tions proves that it was not then regarded as new, but as a text so old and 

1 Masi-ego, Catalogue du Musée Égyptien de Marseille, p. 38 



so well known that its formulas were current in all mouths, and had their 
prescribed places in epitaphs. 1 Was it composed in Mendes, the god's own 
home, or in Heliopolis, when the theologians of that city appropriated the 
god of Mendes and incorporated him in their Ennead ? In conception it cer- 
tainly belongs to the Osirian priesthood, but it can only have been diffused 
over the whole of Egypt after the general adoption of the Heliopolitan Ennead 

throughout the cities. 

As soon as he was 
judged, the dead man 
entered into the posses- 
sion of his rights as a 
pure soul. On high he 
received from the Uni- 
versal Lord all that 
kings and princes here 
below bestowed upon their followers — rations of food, 3 and a house, 
gardens, and fields to be held subject to the usual conditions of tenure 
in Egypt, i.e. taxation, military service, and the corvée. 41 If the island 
was attacked by the partisans of Sit, the Osirian doubles hastened in a 
body to repulse them, and fought bravely in its defence. Of the revenues 
sent to him by his kindred on certain days and by means of sacrifices, each 
gave tithes to the heavenly storehouses. Yet this was but the least part of 
the burdens laid upon him by the laws of the country, which did not suffer 
him to become enervated by idleness, but obliged him to labour as in the days 
when he still dwelt in Egypt. 5 He looked after the maintenance of canals 


1 For instance, one of the formulas found in Memphite tombs states that the deceased had been 
the friend of his father, the beloved of his mother, sweet to those who lived with him, gracious to his 
brethren, loved of his servants, and that he had never sought wrongful quarrel with any man; 
briefly, that he spoke and did that which is right here below (Lepsius, Denhm., ii. 43 c,d; cf. Pleyte, 
Élude sur le chapitre 125 du Rituel funéraire, pp. 11, 12 ; Maspero, Notes sur différents points 
de Grammaire et d'Histoire, § 21, in tho Mélanges d'Archéologie Égyptienne et Assyrienne, vol. ii. 
pp. 215, 216). 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a vignette in the funerary papyrus of Nebhopît in Turin 
(Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia Egizia, pi. v.). 

3 The formula of the pyramid times is : " Thy thousand of oxen, thy thousand of geese, of roast 
and boiled joints from the larder of the gods, of bread, and plenty of the good things presented in 
the hall of Osiris" (Papi IL, 1. 1348, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. xi v. p. 150). 

4 On the assimilation of the condition of the dead enrolled in the service of a god and of 
the vassals of a Pharaoh, cf. Maspero, Études de Mijthologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. 
pp. 44-46. 

5 Booh of the Dead, chap. ex. (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. exxi.-exxiii.). The vignette to this 
chapter shows us the dead attending to their various occupations in the archipelago of Ialû. There 
are numerous variants of the same, of which the most curious are perhaps those of the funerary 
papyrus of Nebhopît in Turin, published by Lanzone, Dizionario di Mitologia, pi. v., and partly 
reproduced on this page and on p. 194. 



and dykes, he tilled the ground, he sowed, he reaped, he garnered the grain 
for his lord and for himself. Yet to those upon whom they were incumbent, 
these posthumous obligations, the sequel and continuation of feudal service, 
at length seemed too heavy, and theologians exercised their 
ingenuity to find means of lightening the burden. They 
authorized the manes to look to their servants for the dis- 
charge of all manual labour which they ought to have per- 
formed themselves. Earely did a dead man, no matter how 
poor, arrive unaccompanied at the eternal cities ; he brought 
with him a following proportionate to his rank and for- 
tune upon earth. At first they were real doubles, those of 
slaves or vassals killed at the tomb, and who had departed 
along with the double of the master to serve him beyond the 
grave as they had served him here. 1 A number of statues and 
images, magically endued with activity and intelligence, was 
afterwards substituted for this retinue of victims. Originally 
of so large a size that only the rich or noble could afford 
them, 2 they were reduced little by little to the height of 
a few inches. Some were carved out of alabaster, granite, 

diorite, fine limestone, or moulded out of fine clay and 

" €ashbîti. j 

delicately modelled ; others had scarcely any human re- 
semblance. 4 They were endowed with life by means of a formula recited 
over them at the time of their manufacture, and afterwards traced upon 
their legs. All were possessed of the same faculties. When the god who 
called the Osirians to the corvée pronounced the name of the dead man 
to whom the figures belonged, they arose and answered for him; hence their 
designation of "Respondents" — Uashbîti. 5 Equipped for agricultural labour, 
each grasping a hoe and carrying a seed-bag on his shoulder, they set out to 

1 On the occasional persistence of human sacrifice, real or simulated, even into the times of the 
second Theban Empire, see Maspero, Le Tombeau de Montouhikhopshouf, in the Mémoires de la Mission 
française du Caire, vol. v. p. 452, et seq. Cf. p. 168, note 1. Against this opinion cf. Renocf, Book 
oj the Dead, c. 112, note 7. 

1 Such are the women grinding corn, the bread-kneaders and the cellarers sometimes found in 
the more elaborate tombs of the Ancient Empire (Maspero, Guide du Visiteur au musée de Boulaq, 
pp. 215, 218, 219, 220). Perhaps even the statues of the double (Ka-statues) should be included in 
this category. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a painted limestone statuette from the tomb of Sonnozmâ at 
Thebes, dating from the end of the XX th dynasty. 

4 The origin and signification of the Uashbîti, or Respondents, have been several times pointed out 
by Maspero {Guide du Visiteur au musée Boulaq, pp. 131-133, and Études de Mythologie et d'Arché- 
ologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 355, 356). 

5 The magical formula which was to endow the Respondents with life, and order their task in the 
next world, forms the sixth chapter of the Book of the Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pi. viii.). It 
has been studied by Chabas, Observations sur le Chapitre VI du Rituel funéraire égyptien, à propos 
d'une statuette funéraire du musée de Langres (an extract from the Mémoires de la Société historique et 




work in their appointed places, contributing the required number of days of 
forced labour. Up to a certain point they thus compensated for those in- 
equalities of condition which 
death itself did not efface 
among the vassals of Osiris ; 
for the figures were sold so 
cheaply that even the poorest 
could always afford some for 
themselves, or bestow a few 
upon their relations ; and in 
the Islands of the Blest, 
fellah, artisan, and slave were 
indebted to the UaslMti for 
release from their old routine 
of labour and unending toil. 
While the little peasants of 
stone or glazed ware dutifully 
toiled and tilled and sowed, 
their masters were enjoying 
all the delights of the Egyp- 
tian paradise in perfect idleness. They sat at ease by the water-side, in- 


haling the fresh north breeze, under the shadow of trees which were always 
green. Tliey fished with lines among the lotus-plants ; they embarked 

arclie'jlogique de Langres, 1863), and more especially by V. Loret, Les Statuettes funéraires du muse'-; 
de Bouîaq, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. iv. pp. 89-117, vol. v. pp. 70-76. 

' Drawn by Faucher-Gudin. from a vignette in No. 4 Papyrus, Dublin (Na ville, Das Mgxjptische 
Todtenbuch, vol. i. pl. xxvii. Da). The name of draughts is not altogether accurate ; a descrip- 
tion of the game may be found in Falkner, Gaines Ancient and Oriental and how to play them, 
pp. 9-101. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the Papyrus of Nebhopit, in Turin (Lanzone, Dizionario di 
Mltologia Egizia, pi. v.). This drawing is from part of the same scene as the illustration on 
p. 192 



ia their boats, and were towed along by their servants, or they would 
sometimes deign to paddle themselves slowly about the canals. They 
went fowling among the reed-beds, or retired within their painted pavilions 

to read tales, to play 
their wives who were 
tiful. 1 It was but an 
divested of all suffer- 
by the favour of the 
The feudal gods 

at draughts, to return to 
for ever young and beau- 
ameliorated earthly life, 
ing under the rule and 
true-voiced Onnophris. 
promptly adopted this new 
mode of life. Each of 
their dead bodies, mummi- 
fied, and afterwards reani- 


mated in accordance with the Osiiian myth, became an Osiris as did that 
of any ordinary person. Some carried the assimilation so far as to absorb 
the god of Mendes, or to be absorbed in him. At Memphis Phtah- 
Sokaris became Phtah-Sokar-Osiris, and at Thinis Khontamentît became 
Osiris Khontamentît. 3 The sun-god lent himself to this process with com- 
parative ease because his life is more like a man's life, and hence also more 
like that of Osiris, which is the counterpart of a man's life. Born in the 

1 Gymnnstic exercises, hunting, fishing, sailing, are all pictured in Theban tombs. The game of 
draughts is mentioned in the title of chap. xvii. of the Book of the Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. 
pl. xxiii. 1. 2), and the women's pavilion is represented in the tomb of Kakhmirî (Virey, Le Tombeau 
de Bekhmara, in the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire, vol. v. pl. xxv.). That the dead were supposed 
to read tales is proved from the fact that broken ostraca bearing long fragments of literary works 
are found in tombs ; they were broken to kill them and to send on their doubles to the dead man in 
the next world (Maspero, Les Premières Lignes des Mémoires de Sinûhit, pp. 1, 2). 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Brugsch-Bey. The original was found 
in the course of M. de Morgan's excavations at Mêîr, and is now at Gîzeh. The dead man is sitting 
in the cabin, wrapped in his cloak. As far as I know, this is the only boat which has preserved its- 
original rigging. It dates from the XI"' or XII" 1 dynasty. 

3 Mastero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 21-24. 



morning, he ages as the day declines, and gently passes away at evening. 
From the time of his entering the sky to that of his leaving it, he reigns 
above as he reigned here below in the beginning; but when he has left 
the sky and sinks into Hades, he becomes as one of the dead, and is, as 
they are, subjected to Osirian embalmment. The same dangers that menace 

their human souls threaten his soul 

also ; and when he has vanquished 
them, not in his own strength, but 
by the power of amulets and magical 
formulas, he enters into the fields 
of Ialû, and ought to dwell there 
for ever under the rule of Onno- 
phris. He did nothing of the 
kind, however, for daily the sun 
was to be seen reappearing in 
the east twelve hours after it had 
Was it a new orb each time, or 
In either case the result was pre- 


sunk into the darkness of the west, 
did the same sun shine every day ? 
cisely the same ; the god came forth from death and re-entered into life. 
Having identified the course of the sun-god with that of man, and Eâ with 
Osiris for a first day and a first night, it was hard not to push the 
matter further, and identify them for all succeeding days and nights, 
affirming that man and Osiris might, if they so wished, be born again 
in the morning, as Eâ was, and together with him. 2 If the Egyptians had 
found the prospect of quitting the darkness of the tomb for the bright 
meadows of Ialû a sensible alleviation of their lot, with what joy must they 
have been filled by the conception which allowed them to substitute the whole 
realm of the sun for a little archipelago in an out-of-the-way corner of the 
universe. Their first consideration was to obtain entrance into the divine bark, 
and this was the object of all the various practices and prayers, whose text,, 
together with that which already contained the Osirian formulas, ensured 
the unfailing protection of Eâ to their possessor. 3 The soul desirous of 
making use of them went straight from his tomb to the very spot where 
the god left earth to descend into Hades. This was somewhere in the 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a vignette in the Papyrus of Nebqadû, in Paris. 

2 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 24-27. 

3 Tlie formulas enabling the soul to enter the solar bark form the chief part of chaps, c.-cii. 
(Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. cxiii., cxiv.), cxxxiv.-cxxxvi. (Naville's edition, vol. i. pis. cxlv.- 
cxlix.) of the Book of the Dead. But in this work the mingling of solar and Osirian conceptions 
is already complete, and several chapters intended for other purposes contain many allusions to 
the embarkation of souls in the boat of Rii. 



immediate neighbourhood of Abydos, and was reached through a narrow gorge 
or " cleft " in the Libyan 
range, whose" mouth" opened 
in front of the temple of 
Osiris Khontamentit, a little 
to the north-west of the city. 1 
The soul was supposed to be 
carried thither by a small 
flotilla of boats, manned by 
figures representing friends 
or priests, and laden with 
food, furniture, and statues. 
This flotilla was placed with- 
in the vault on the day of 
the funeral, 2 and was set in 
motion by means of incanta- 
tions recited over it during 
one of the first nights of the year, at the annual feast of the dead. 4 The 
bird or insect which had previously served as guide to the soul upon its journey 
now took the helm to show the fleet the right way, 5 and under this command 
the boats left Abydos and mysteriously passed through the " cleft " into that 
western sea which is inaccessible to the living, there to await the daily coming 
of the dying sun-god. As soon as his bark appeared at the last bend of the 

1 As to the Mouth of the Cleft, and the way in which souls arrived there, see Maspero, Études de 
Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 14, etc.; aud Études Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 121, 
«t seq. 

2 There are many of these boats in museums, and several in the Louvre {Salle Civile, Case K). 
Of the flotillas whose origin is known there are only that in the Berlin Museum, which is from 
Thebes (Passalacqua, Catalogue, pp. 126-129, reproduced in Prisse d'Avennes, Histoire de l'Art 
Égyptien), and those in the Gîzeh Museum, of which one was found at Saqqarah (Maspero, Quatre 
Années de fouilles, in the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire, vol. i. p. 209, with plate), and the other 
at Meîr, north of Siût. They belong to the XI"' and XII th dynasties. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a very small photograph published in the Catalogue of the 
Miuutoli Sale {Catalog der Sammlungen von Musterwerlcen der Industrie und Kunst zusammengebracht 
durch Iln. Freiherrn, Dr. Alexander von Minutoli, Cologne, 1875). 

* These formulas are traced upon the walls of an XVIII lll -dynasty tomb, that of Nofirhotpu at 
Thebes ; they have been published by Dumichen, Kalendarische Inschriften, pi. xxxv. 11. 31-60 (cf. 
Die Flotte einer JEgyplischen Kbnigin, pi. xxxi. pp. 31-60) and by Bénédite, Le Tombeau de Néferhot- 
pou, in the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire, vol. v. p. 516, et seq., with plate. 

5 " Thou risest again like the grasshopper of Abydos, for whom room is made in the bark of 
Osiris, and who accompanieth the god as far as the region of the cleft " (Sharm, Egyptian Inscriptions, 
1st series, pi. 105, 11. 23, 24; E. A. W. Budge, Notes on Egyptian Stelx, principally of the XVIII th 
Dynasty, in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archeology, vol. viii. p. 327 ; Lefébure, Étude 
sur Abydos, also in the Proceedings of the same Society, vol. xv. pp. 136, 137). The pilot of the 
sacred barks is generally a hawk-headed man, a Horus, perhaps a reminiscence of this bird 

6 Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 123-130. 




celestial Nile, the cynocephali, who guarded the entrance into night, began to 
dance and gesticulate upon the banks as they intoned their accustomed hymn. 

The gods of Abydos mingled their shouts of joy with the 
chant of the sacred baboons, the bark lingered for a moment 
upon the frontiers of day, and initiated souls seized the 
occasion to secure their recognition and their reception on 
board of it. 1 Once admitted, they took their share in the 
management of the boat, and in the battles with hostile 
deities; but they were not all endowed with the courage or 
equipment needful to withstand the perils and terrors of 
the voyage. Many stopped short by the way in one of the 
regions which it traversed, either in the realm of Khonta- 
mentît, or in that of Sokaris, or in those islands where the 
good Osiris welcomed them as though they had duly arrived 
in the ferry-boat, or upon the wing of Thot. There they 
dwelt in colonies under the suzerainty of local gods, rich, 
and in need of nothing, but condemned to live in darkness, 
excepting for the one brief hour in which the solar bark 

passed through their midst, 
irradiating them with beams 
of light. 2 The few per- 
severed, feeling that they 
had courage to accompany 
the sun throughout, and 
these were indemnified for 
their sufferings by the most 
brilliant fate ever dreamed 
of by Egyptian souls. Born 


anew with the sun-god and 
appearing with him at the 
gates of the east, they were assimilated to him, and shared his privilege of 
growing old and dying, only to be ceaselessly rejuvenated and to live again with 

1 This description of the embarkation and voyage of the soul is composed from indications given 
in one of the vignettes of chap. xvi. of the Booh of the Dead (Naville's edition, vol. i. pi. xxii.), 
combined with the text of a formula which became common from the times of the XI th and XII"' 
dynasties (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 14-18, and Éludes 
Egyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 122, 123.) 

2 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 44, 45. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Déyèria, Le Papyrus de Neb-Qed, pl. i. (cf. Chabas, Notice sur 
le Pire-em-hrou, in the Mémoires du Congrès des Orientalistes de Paris, vol. ii. pp. 14-50, pl. lviii., and 
Naville, Das JEgyptische Todtenhuch, vol. i. pl. iv. Pe). The scene of the soul contemplating the 
face of the mummy is often represented in Theban copies of the Booh of the Dead (Naville's edition, 


ever-renewed splendour. They disembarked where they pleased, and returned 
at will into the world. 1 If now and then they felt a wish to revisit all that 
was left of their earthly bodies, the human-headed sparrow-hawk descended 
the shaft in full flight, alighted upon the funeral couch, and, with hands 
softly laid upon the spot where the heart had been wont to beat, gazed upwards 
at the impassive mask of the mummy. This was but for a moment, since 



nothing compelled these perfect souls to be imprisoned within the tomb like 
the doubles of earlier times, because they feared the light. They " went forth 
by day," 3 and dwelt in those places where they had lived ; they walked in 
their gardens by their ponds of running water ; they perched like so many 
birds on the branches of the trees which they had planted, or enjoyed the fresh 
air under the shade of their sycamores ; they ate and drank at pleasure ; they 
travelled by hill and dale ; they embarked in the boat of Kâ, and disembarked, 
without weariness, and without distaste for the same perpetual round. 4 This 

vol. i. pl. cl. chap, lxxxix.); it is better shown iu the little monument of the scribe Kâ, reproduced in 
the illustration on this page (Maspero, Guide du Visiteur au Mutée deBoulaq, pp. 130, 131, No. 1G21). 

1 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 24-27. 

* Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Émil Brugsch-Bey, reproducing the miniature 
sarcophagus of the scribe Kà (Maspero, Guide du Visiteur, pp. 130, 131, No. 1621). 

3 This is the title, Pirû-m-hrû, of the first section of the Book of the Dead, and of several chapters 
in other sections (Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 352-355). 
It has been translated going out from day, being manifest to day, going forth like the day. The true 
translation, going forth by day, was suggested by Eeinisch (Die JEgyptischen Denhmàler in Miramar 
p. 44) and demonstrated by Lefébure (Le Per-m-hrû, Étude sur la vie future chez les Égyptiens, in 
Chabas, Mélanges Égyptologiques, 3rd series, vol. ii. pp. 218-241; cf. E. von Bergmann, Das Buch 
vom Durchwandeln der Ewigheit, pp. 8, 31). 

4 This picture of the life of the soul going forth by day is borrowed from the frequent formula upon 
ttela> of the XVIII th to the XX th dynasties, of which the best known example is C 55 in the 
Louvre (Pierret, Becueil d'inscriptions inédites, vol. ii. pp. 90-93; cf. E. A. W. Budge, Notes on 


conception, which was developed somewhat late, brought the Egyptians back 
to the point from which they had started when first they began to speculate 
on the life to come. The soul, after having left the place of its incarnation 
to which in the beginning it clung, after having ascended into heaven and there 
sought congenial asylum in vain, forsook all havens which it had found above, 
and unhesitatingly fell back upon earth, there to lead a peaceful, free, and happy 
life in the full light of day, and with the whole valley of Egypt for a paradise. 

The connection, always increasingly intimate between Osiris and Eâ, 
gradually brought about a blending of the previously separate myths and 
beliefs concerning each. The friends and enemies of the one became the friends 
and enemies of the other, and from a mixture of the original conceptions of 
the two deities, arose new personalities, in which contradictory elements were 
blent together, often without true fusion. The celestial Horuses one by one 
were identified with Horus, son of Isis, and their attributes were given to him, 
as his in the same way became theirs. Apopi and the monsters— the 
hippopotamus, the crocodile, the wild boar — who lay in wait for Eâ as he 
sailed the heavenly ocean, became one with Sît and his accomplices. Sit 
still possessed his half of Egypt, and his primitive brotherly relation to the 
celestial Horus remained unbroken, either on account of their sharing one 
temple, as at Nûbît, or because they were worshipped as one in two neigh- 
bouring nomes, as, for example, at Oxyrrhynchos and at Heracleopolis Magna. 
The repulsion with which the slayer of Osiris was regarded did not every- 
where dissociate these two cults: certain small districts persisted in this 
double worship down to the latest times of paganism. It was, after all, 
a mark of fidelity to the oldest traditions of the race, but the bulk of the 
Egyptians, who had forgotten these, invented reasons taken from the history 
of the divine dynasties to explain the fact. The judgment of Thot or of 
Sibil had not put an end to the machinations of Sit : as soon as Horus 
had left the earth, Sît resumed them, and pursued them, with varying 
fortune, under the divine kings of the second Ennead. 1 Now, in the year 363 
of Harmakhis, the Typhonians reopened the campaign. Beaten at first near 
Edfù, they retreated precipitately northwards, stopping to give battle wherever 

Egyptian Stelse, principally of the XVIII th Dynasty, in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical 
Archxology, vol. viii. pp. 306-312). 

1 The war of Harmakhis and Sît is chronicled and depicted at length on the inner walls of the 
sanctuary in the temple of Edfu. The inscriptions and pictures relating to it were copied, trans- 
lated, and published for the first time by E. Na ville, Textes relatifs au Mythe d'Horus recueillis 
dans le temple d'Edfû, pis. xii.-xxxi., and pp. 16-25 ; Brugsch, soon after, brought out in his memoir 
on Die Sage von der geftiigelten Sonnenscheibe nach altdgyptischen Quellen (Aus den XIV Bande der 
Abhandlungen der K. Ges. der Wissenschaften zu Gôttingen, 1870), a German translation of them 
with a commentary, several points of which he has corrected in various articles of his Dictionnaire 
Géographique. The interpretation of the text here adopted was proposed by Maspero (Études de 
Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 321, et seq.). 


their partisans predominated, — at Zatmit in the Theban nome, 1 at Khaît- 
nûtrît to the north-east of Denderah, 2 and at Hibonû in the principality of 
the Gazelle. 3 Several bloody 
combats, which took place 
between Oxyrrhynchos and 
Heracleopolis Magna, were 
the means of driving them 
finally out of the Nile 
Valley ; they rallied for the 
last time in the eastern pro- 
vinces of the Delta, were 
beaten at Zalu, 4 and civingf 
up all hope of success on land, 
they embarked at the head 
of the Gulf of Suez, in order 
to return to the Nubian 
Desert, their habitual refuge 
in times of distress. The 
sea was the special element 
of Typhon, and upon it they 
believed themselves secure. Horus, however, followed them, overtook them near 
Shas-hirît, 6 routed them, and on his return to Edfû, celebrated his victory by 
a solemn festival. By degrees, as he made himself master of those localities 
Avhich owed allegiance to Sit, he took energetic measures to establish in them 
the authority of Osiris and of the solar cycle. In all of them he built, side 
by side with the sanctuary of the Typhonian divinities, a temple to himself, in 
which he was enthroned under the particular form he was obliged to assume in 
order to vanquish his enemies. Metamorphosed into a hawk at the battle of 

1 Zatmît (Biïugsch, Diet. Géographique, p. 1006) appears to have been situate at some distance 
from Bayadîye'h, on the spot where the map published by the Egyptian Commission marks the ruins 
of a modern village. There was a necropolis of considerable extent there, which furnishes the 
Luxor dealers with antiquities, many of which belong to the first Theban empire. 

2 Khaît, or Khaîti-nûtiît (Bkugsch, Diet. Géographique, pp. 269-273), appears to me to be now 
represented by Nutah, one of the divisions of the township of Denderah. The name Khaît may 
have been dropped, or confused with the administrative term nakhiét, which is still applied to a part 
of the village, Nakhie't-Nutah (Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. 
p. 326). 

1 Hibonû (Brtjgsch, Diet. Géographique, pp. 490, 491, 1252) is now Minieh (Maspero, Notes au, 
jour le jour, § 14, in the Proceedings of the Biblical Archxological Society, vol. xiii. pp. 506, 507). 

4 Zalû, Zarû (Brugsch, Diet. Géographique, pp. 992-997) is the Selle of classical geographers ; cf 
the map of the nomes of the Delta on p. 75 of this work. 

5 Copied by Faucher-Gudin from the survey-drawings of the tomb of Anni by Boussac, member 
of the Mission française in Egypt (1891). The inscription over the arbour gives the list of the 
various trees in the garden of Anni during his lifetime. 

6 Shas-hirît is the Egyptian name of one of the towns of Berenice which the Ptolemies built on 
the Ked Sea (Brugsch, Diet. Géographique, pp. 792-794, 1335, 133G ; and Zeitschrift, 1884, p. 96). 




Hibonû, we next see him springing on to the back of Sit under the guise of 
a hippopotamus ; in his shrine at Hibonû he is represented as a hawk 
perching on the back of a gazelle, emblem of the nome where the struggle 
look place. 1 Near to Zalû he became incarnate as a human -headed lion, 
crowned with the triple diadem, and having feet armed with claws which cut 
like a knife; it was under the form, too, of a lion that he was worshipped 
in the temple at Zalû. 2 The correlation of Sit and the celestial Horus was 
not, therefore, for these Egyptians of more recent times a primitive religious 
i'act ; it was the consequence, and so to speak the sanction, of the old hostility 
between the two gods. Horus had treated his enemy in the same fashion 
that a victorious Pharaoh treated the barbarians conquered by his arms : he 
had constructed a fortress to keep his foe in check, and his priests formed a sort 
of garrison as a precaution against the revolt of the rival priesthood and the 
followers of the rival deity. 3 In this manner the battles of the gods were 
changed into human struggles, in which, more than once, Egypt was deluged 
with blood. The hatred of the followers of Osiris to those of Typhon was 
perpetuated with such implacability, that the nomes which had persisted in 
adhering to the worship of Sit, became odious to the rest of the population : 
the image of their master on the monuments was mutilated, 4 their names were 
effaced from the geographical lists, they were assailed with insulting epithets, 
and to pursue and slay their sacred animals was reckoned a pious act. 
Thus originated those skirmishes which developed into actual civil wars, and 
were continued down to Roman times. 5 The adherents of Typhon only became 

1 Na ville, Textes relatifs au Mythe d' Horus recueillis dans le temple d'Ed/û, pl. xiv. 11. 11-13 ; 
cf. Brugsch, Die Sage von der gefliigelten Sonnenscheibe, pp. 17, 18. 

2 Naville, Textes relatifs au Mythe d' Horus recueillis dans le temple d'Edfû, pl. xviii. 11. 1-3; 
Bkcgsch, Die Sage von der gefiugelten Sonnenscheibe, pp. 34-36. 

3 These foundations, the "Marches of Horus" into Typhonian territory, are what the texts of 
Edfû (Naville, Textes relatifs au Mythe d'Horus, pl. xvii. 1. 10, etseq.)call " Masnît." The warrior- 
priests of Horus, according to an ancient tradition, called themselves " Masnâtiû " — blacksmiths 
(Maspero, Etudes de Religion et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 313, et seq ). " Masnît " at first 
meant the place where the blacks-miths worked, the forge ; it then became the sanctuary of their 
master at Edfû, and by extension, the sanctuary of the celestial Horus in all those towns of Egypt 
where that god received a worship analogous to that of Edfû. Brugsch has shown that these 
"Masnît," or "divine forges," were four in number in Egypt (Dictionnaire Géographique, pp. 
298-306, 371-378, 1211, 1212). 

4 Seti I., in his tomb, everywhere replaced the hieroglyph ^ of the god Sit, which forms his 

name, by that of Osiris J* ; it was in order, as Champollion remarked, not to offend the god of the 

dead by the sight of his enemy, and more particularly perhaps to avoid the contradiction of a king 
named Sit being styled Osiris, and of calling him " the Osiris Seti." The mutilation of the name of 
Sît upon the monuments does not appear to me to be anterior to the Persian period ; at that time the 
masters of the country being strangers and of a different religion, the feudal divinities ceased to 
aspire to the political supremacy, and the only common religion that Egypt possessed was that of 
Osiris, the god of the dead. 

5 Cf. the battle that Juvenal describes in his fifteenth satire, between the people of Denderah and 
those of the town of Ombi, which latter is not the Ombos situated between Assûan and Gebel Silsileh, 
but Pâ-nûbît, the Pampauis of Roman geographers, the present Negadeh (DCmichen, Geschichte 
Aïgyptens, pp. 125, 126). 



more confirmed in their veneration for the accursed god ; Christianity alone 
overcame their obstinate fidelity to him. 1 

The history of the world for Egypt was therefore only the history of the 
struggle between the adherents of Osiris and the followers of Sit ; an inter- 
minable warfare in which sometimes one and sometimes the other of the rival 
parties obtained a passing advantage, without ever gaining a decisive victory 
till the end of time. The divine kings of the second and third Ennead devoted 
most of the years of their earthly reign to this end ; they were portrayed under 
the form of the great warrior Pharaohs, who, from the eighteenth to the twelfth 
century before our era, extended their rule from the plains of the Euphrates 
to the marshes of Ethiopia. A few peaceful sovereigns are met with here and 
there in this line of conquerors — a few sages or legislators, of whom the most 
famous was styled Thot, the doubly great, ruler of Hermopolis and of the 
Hermopolitan Ennead. A legend of recent origin made him the prime 
minister of Horus, son of Isis ; 2 a still more ancient tradition would identify 
him with the second king of the second dynasty, the immediate successor 
of the divine Horuses, and attributes to him a reign of 3226 years. 3 He 
brought to the throne that inventive spirit and that creative power which 
had characterized him from the time when he was only a feudal deity. 
Astronomy, divination, magic, medicine, writing, drawing — in fine, all the 
arts and sciences emanated from him as from their first source. 4 He had 
taught mankind the methodical observation of the heavens and of the changes 
that took place in them, the slow revolutions of the sun, the rapid phases 
of the moon, the intersecting movements of the five planets, and the shapes 
and limits of the constellations which each night were lit up in the sky. Most 

1 This incident in the wars of Horus and Sit is drawn by Faucher-Gudin from a bas-relief of the 
temple of Edfû (Naville, Textes relatifs au Mythe â'Horus, pl. xv.). Ou the right, Har-Hûdîti, 
standing up in the solar bark, pierces with his lance the head of a crocodile, a partisan of Sit, 
lying in the water below ; Harmâkhis, standing behind him, is present at the execution. Facing 
this divine pair, is the young Horus, who kills a man, another partisan of Sit, while Isis and Hai- 
Hûdîti hold his chains; behind Horus, Isis and Thot are leading four other captives bound and 
ready to be sacrificed before Harmâkhis. 

2 This is the part he plays in the texts of Edfû published by Naville, and which is confirmed by 
several passages, where he is called Zaîti, the " count " of Horus (cf. Bergjiann, Hieroglyphisehe 
Inschriften, pi. lxxxi. 11. 73, 74); according to another tradition, known to the Greeks, he is the 
minister, or " count " of Osiris (cf. p. 174, and Dumichen, Historische Inschriften, vol. ii. pi. xxv.), 
or, according to Plato, of Thamûs (Phxdrus, Didot's edition, vol. i. p. 733), according to ^Eliau 
(Varia Historia, xii. 4 ; xiv. 34) of Sesostris. 

3 Royal Papyrus of Turin, in Lepsius, Auswahl der wichtigsten TJrltunden, pi. iii. col. ii. 11, ]. 5. 
Thot, the king, mentioned on the coffer of a queen of the XI th dynasty, now preserved in the 
Berlin Museum (No. 1175), is not, according to M. Erman (Historische Nachlese, in the Zeitschrift, 
vol. xxx. pp. 46, 47), the god Thot, king of the divine dynasties, but a prince of the Theban or 
Heracleopolitan dynasties (cf. Pietschmann, Hermes Trismegistos, p. 20, Ed. Meter, Geschichte des 
Alterthums, vol. i. p. 65). 

4 The testimony of Greek and Komau writers on this subject is found in Jablonski, Pantheon JEgyp- 
tiorum, vol. iii. p. 159, et seq., and in Pietschmann, Hermes Trismegistos nach JEgyptischen, Griechischen 
und Oriental ischen Ueberlieferungen, p. 28, et seq. Thot is the Hermes Trismegistos of the Greeks. 



of the latter either remained, or appeared to remain immovable, and seemed 
never to pass out of the regions accessible to the human eye. Those which 

were situate on the extreme 

I O Q 

M 1 1 Qa, , 

margin of the firmament ac- 
complished movements there 
analogous to those of the 
planets. Every year at fixed 
times they were seen to sink 
one after another below the 
horizon, to disappear, and 
rising again after an eclipse 
of greater or less duration, to 
regain insensibly their original 
positions. The constellations 
were reckoned to be thirty- 
six in number, the thirty-six decani* to whom were 
attributed mysterious powers, and of whom Sothis 
was queen — Sothis transformed into the star of Isis, 
when Orion (Sâhû) became the star of Osiris. 1 The 
nights are so clear and the atmosphere so transparent 
in Egypt, that the eye can readily penetrate the 
depths of space, and distinctly see points of light 
which would be invisible in our foggy climate. The 
Egyptians did not therefore need special instruments 
to ascertain the existence of a considerable number 
of stars which we could not see without the help of 
our telescopes ; they could perceive with the naked eye stars of the fifth 
magnitude, and note them upon their catalogues. 8 It entailed, it is true, a Ion"- 
training and uninterrupted practice to bring their sight up to its maximum 
keenness ; but from very early times it was a function of the priestly colleges 

[* The "Decani" were single stars, or groups of stars, and related to the thirty-sixth or thirty- 
seventh decades of which the Egyptian y^ar was composed (Maspero, Hist. Ancienne des peuples de 
l'Orient, p. 71).— Tas.] 

1 For Orion and Sothis, see pp. 96-98 of this History. Champollion first drew attention to the 
Decani, who were afterwards described by Lepsius (Einleitung zur Chronologie der Alten AZgypter, 
pp. 68, 69), but with mistakes which Goodwin (Sur un horoscope grec contenant les noms de plusieurs 
Décans, in Chabas, Mélanges Égyptologiques, second series, pp. 294-306) and Brugsch (Thesaurus 
Inscriptionum ASgyptiacarum, p. 131, et seq. ; cf. Die Mgyptologie, p. 339, et seq.) have corrected 
by means of fresh documents. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a copy by Lepsius, Denhm., iii. 227, 3. 

3 Biot, however (Sur un calendrier astronomique et astrologique trouvé à Thèbes en Egypte, p. 15), 
states that stars of the third and fourth magnitude "are the smallest which can be seen with the 
naked eye." I believe I am right in affirming that several of the fellahîn and Bedawîn attached to 
the "service des Antiquités " can see stars which are usually classed with those of the fifth magnitude 




to found and maintain schools of astronomy. The first observatories established 
on the banks of the Nile seem to have belonged to the temples of the sun ; 
the high priests of Eâ — who, to judge from their title, were alone worthy to 
behold the sun face to face — were actively employed from the earliest times 
in studying the configuration and preparing maps of the heavens. 1 The 
priests of other gods were quick to follow their example : at the opening 
of the historic period, there was not a single temple, from one end of the 
valley to the other, that did not possess its official astronomers, or, as they 
were called, " watchers of the night." 2 In the evening they went up on to 
the high terraces above the shrine, or on to the narrow platforms which termi- 
nated the pylons, and fixing their eyes continuously on the celestial vault above 
them, followed the movements of the constellations and carefully noted down 
the slightest phenomena which they observed. A portion of the chart of the 
heavens, as known to Theban Egypt between the eighteenth and twelfth 
centuries before our era, has survived to the present time ; parts of it were 
carved by the decorators on the ceilings of temples, and especially on royal 
tombs. 3 The deceased Pharaohs were identified with Osiris in a more intimate 
fashion than their subjects. They represented the god even in the most 
trivial details ; on earth — where, after having played the part of the 
beneficent Onnophris of primitive ages, they underwent the most complete 
and elaborate embalming, like Osiris of the lower world ; in Hades — where 
they embarked side by side with the Sun-Osiris to cross the night and to 

1 I would recall the fact that the high priests of Râ styled themselves Oîrû-maûû, " the great of 
sight," the chief of those who see the Sun, those alone who behold him face to face. One of them 
describes himself on his statue (Maspero, Rapport sur une mission en Italie, in the Recueil de Travaux, 
vol. iii. p. 126, § xi. ; cf. Brugsch, Die Mgyptologie, p. 320) : " the reader who knows tlie face of the 
heavens, the great of sight in the mansion of the Prince of Hermonthis " (cf. pp. 136, 160 of this History). 
Hermonthi;-, the Aûnû of the south, was the exact counterpart of Heliopolis, the Aûnû (On) of the 
north ; it therefore possessed its mansion of the prince where Montû, the meridional sun, had of old 
resided during his sojourn upon earth. 

2 Urshû: this word is also used for the soldiers on watch during the day upon the walls of a 
fortress (Maspero, Le Papyrus de Berlin, No. 1, 11. 18, 19, in the Mélanges d'Archéologie Égyptienne et 
Assyrienne, vol. iii. p. 72). Birch believed he had discovered in the British Museum (Inscriptions in 
the Hieratic and Demotic Characters, pi. xix., No. 5635, and p. 8) a catalogue of observations made at 
Thebes by several astronomers upon a constellation which answered to the Hyades or the Pleiades 
(Birch, Varia, in the Zeitschrift, 1868, pp. 11, 12); it was merely a question in this text of the 
quantity of water supplied regularly to the astronomers of a Theban temple for their domestic purposes. 

3 The principal representations of the map of the heavens which are at present known to us, 
are those of the Eameseum on the left bank of the Nile at Thebes, which have been studied by Biot 
(Sur Vannée vague des Egyptiens, 1831,118, et seq.), by G. Tomlinson (On the Astronomical Ceiling of 
the Memnonium at Thebes, in the Transactions of the R. Soc. of Literature, vol. iii. pi. ii. pp. 484-499), 
by Lepsius (Einleitung zur Chronologie, pp. 20, 21), and lastly by Brugsch (Thesaurus Inscriptionum 
JEgypliacarum, p. 87, et seq.) ; those of Denderah, which have been reproduced in the Description de 
V Egypte (Ant, vol. iv. pis. 20, 21), and have had further light thrown on them by Brugsch (Thesaurus 
Inscriptionum JEgypliacarum, p. 1, et seq.) ; those of the tomb of Seti I., which have been edited by 
Belzoni (A Narrative of the Operations, Suppl., iii.), by Kosellini (Monumenti del Culto, pi. 69), by 
Lepsius (Denkmdler, iii. 137), by Lefe'bure (Le Tombeau de Séti I er , part iv. pl. xxxvi., in the Mémoires 
de la Mission Française du Caire, vol. ii.), and finally studied by Brugsch in his Thesaurus (p. 64, et seq.). 


be born again at daybreak ; in heaven — where they shone with Orion-Sâhu 
under the guardianship of Sothis, and, year by year, led the procession of the 
stars. The maps of the firmament recalled to them, or if necessary taught 
them, this part of their duties : they there saw the planets and the decani 
sail past in their boats, and the constellations follow one another in con- 
tinuous succession. The lists annexed to the charts indicated the positions 
occupied each month by the principal heavenly bodies — their risings, their 
culminations, and their settings. 1 Unfortunately, the workmen employed to 
execute these pictures either did not understand much about the subject 
in hand, or did not trouble themselves to copy the originals exactly : they 
omitted many passages, transposed others, and made endless mistakes, which 
make it impossible for us to transfer accurately to a modern map the infor- 
mation possessed by the ancients. 

In directing their eyes to the celestial sphere, Thot had at the same time 
revealed to men the art of measuring time, and the knowledge of the future. 
As he was the moon-god par excellence, he watched with jealous care over 
the divine eye which had been entrusted to him by Horus, and the thirty 
days during which he was engaged in conducting 2 it through all the phases 
of its nocturnal life, were reckoned as a month. Twelve of these months 
formed the year, a year of three hundred and sixty days, during which the 
earth witnessed the gradual beginning and ending of the circle of the seasons. 
The Nde rose, spread over the fields, sank again into its channel ; to the 
vicissitudes of the inundation succeeded the work of cultivation ; the harvest 
followed the seedtime : these formed three distinct divisions of the year, each 
of nearly equal duration. Thot made of them the three seasons, — that of the 
waters, Shaît ; that of vegetation, Pirûît ; that of the harvest, Shôrnû — each com- 
prising four months, numbered one to four; the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th months 
of Shaît ; the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th months of Pirûît ; the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th 
months of Shôrnû. The twelve months completed, a new year began, whose 
birth was heralded by the rising of Sothis in the early days of August. 3 The 

1 These tables, preserved in the tombs of Ramses IV. and Ramses IX., had attention first drawn 
to them by Champollion (Lettres écrites d'Égypte, 2nd edit., pp. 239-241) and were published by 
him (Monuments de l'Egypte et de la Nubie, pl. cclxxii. ti's-cclxxii., Text, vol. ii. pp. 517-568), and 
subsequently by Lepsius (Denhm., iii. 227, 228 bis). They have been studied by E. de Rouge' and Biot 
(Recherches de quelques dates absolues qui peuvent se conclure des dates vagues inscrites sur des monu- 
ments Egyptiens, pp. 35-83, and Sur un calendrier astronomique et astrologique trouvé à Thèbes en Egypte 
dans les tombeaux de Bhamsès VI et de Ehamsès IX) ; by Lepsius (Einleitung zur Chronologie, p. 110, et 
eeq.); by Geusler (Die Tliebanischen Tqfeln stiindlicher Sternaufgânge); by Lepage-Renouf (Calendar of 
Astronomical Observations in Royal Tombs of the Twentieth Dynasty, in the Transactions of the Biblical 
Archxological Society, vol. iii. pp. 400-421) ; by Brugsch (Thesaurus Inscriptionum JEgyptiacarum, pp. 
185-194); by Bilfinger (D ie Sterntafeln in den JEgyptischen Koiiigsgràbem von Bibân el-Molûk); and 
lastly by Schack (JEgyptische Studien, Pt. II. 1894). 

2 One of the most common titles of the moon-god Thot is An-izait, " He who carries, who brings 
the painted Eye of the Sun " (E. de Bekgmann, Historische Inschriften, pi. Iii.). 

3 The order and the nature of the seasons, imperfectly described by Champollion in his Mémoire 



first month of the Egyptian year thus coincided with the eighth of ours. Thot 
became its patron, and gave it his name, relegating each of the others to a 
special protecting divinity ; in this manner the third month of Shaît fell to 
Hathor, and was called after her ; the fourth of Pirûît belonged to Ranûît or 
Ramûît, the lady of harvests, and derived from her its appellation of Pharmûti. 1 
Official documents always designated the months by the ordinal number 
attached to them in each season, but the people gave them by preference 
the names of their tutelary deities, and these names, transcribed into Greek, 
and then into Arabic, are still used by the Christian inhabitants of Egypt, 
side by side with the Mussulman appellations. One patron for each month 
was, however, not deemed sufficient : each month was subdivided into three 
decades, over which presided as many decani, and the days themselves were 
assigned to genii appointed to protect them. A number of festivals were 
set apart at irregular intervals during the course of the year : festivals 
for the new year, festivals for the beginning of the seasons, months and 
decades, festivals for the dead, for the supreme gods, and for local divinities. 
Every act of civil life was so closely allied to the religious life, that it could 
not be performed without a sacrifice or a festival. A festival celebrated the 
cutting of the dykes, another the opening of the canals, a third the reaping 
of the first sheaf, or the carrying of the grain ; a crop gathered or stored 
without a festival to implore the blessing of the gods, would have been an 
act of sacrilege and fraught with disaster. The first year of three hundred 
and sixty days, regulated by the revolutions - of the moon, did not long meet 
the needs of the Egyptian people ; it did not correspond with the length 
of the solar year, for it fell short of it by five and a quarter days, and this 
deficit, accumulating from twelvemonth to twelvemonth, caused such a serious 
difference between the calendar reckoning and the natural seasons, that it 
soon had to be corrected. They intercalated, therefore, after the twelfth month 
of each year and before the first day of the ensuing year, five epagomenal 
days, which they termed the " five days over and above the year." 2 The legend 
of Osiris relates that Thot created them in order to permit Nûît to give 

sur les signes employe's par les anciens Égyptiens à la notation du temps, have been correctly explained 
by Brugsch (Nouvelles Recherches sur la division de l'année chez les anciens Egyptiens, pp. 1-15, 61, 62). 

1 For the popular names of the months and their Coptic and Arabic transcriptions, see Brugsch, 
Thesaurus Inscriptionum 2Egyptiacarum, p. 472, et seq., and Die JEgyptologie, pp. 359-361 ; the 
Egyptian festivals are enumerated and described in this latter work, p. 362, et seq. 

2 There appears to be a tendency among Egyptologists now to doubt the existence, under the 
Ancient Empire, of the five epagomenal days, and as a fact they are nowhere to be found expressly 
mentioned ; but we know that the five gods of the Osirian cycle were born during the epagomenal 
days (cf. p. 172 of this History), and the allusions to the Osirian legend which are met with in the 
Pyramid texts, prove that the days were added long before the time when those inscriptions were 
cut. As the wording of the texts often comes down from prehistoric times, it is most likely 
that the invention of the epagomenal days is anterior to the first Thinite and Memphite dynasties. 



birth to all her children. These days constituted, at the end of the " great 
year," a " little month," 1 which considerably lessened the difference between 
the solar and lunar computation, but did not entirely do away with it, and 
the six hours and a few minutes of which the Egyptians had not taken 
count gradually became the source of fresh perplexities. They at length 
amounted to a whole day, which needed to be added every four years to the 
regular three hundred and sixty days, a fact which was unfortunately over- 
looked. The difficulty, at first only slight, which this caused in public life, 
increased with time, and ended by disturbing the harmony between the order 
of the calendar and that of natural phenomena : at the end of a hundred and 
twenty years, the legal year had gained a whole month on the actual year, and 
the 1st of Thot anticipated the heliacal rising of Sothis by thirty days, instead 
of coinciding with it as it ought. The astronomers of the Gneco-Roinan 
period, after a retrospective examination of all the past history of their country, 
discovered a very ingenious theory for obviating this unfortunate discrepancy. 2 
If the omission of six hours annually entailed the loss of one day every 
four years, the time would come, after three hundred and sixty-five times 
four years, when the deficit would amount to an entire year, and when, 
in consequence, fourteen hundred and sixty whole years would exactly 
equal fourteen hundred and sixty-one incomplete years, The agreement 
of the two years, which had been disturbed by the force of circumstances, 
was re-established of itself after rather more than fourteen and a half 
centuries : the opening of the civil year became identical with the beginning 
of the astronomical year, and this again coincided with the heliacal rising 
of Sirius, and therefore with the official date of the inundation. To the 
Egyptians of Pharaonic times, this simple and eminently practical method was 
unknown : by means of it hundreds of generations, who suffered endless 
troubles from the recurring difference between an uncertain and a fixed year, 
might have consoled themselves with the satisfaction of knowing that a day 
would come when one of their descendants would, for once in his life, see 
both years coincide with mathematical accuracy, and the seasons appear at 
their normal times. The Egyptian year might be compared to a watch which 
loses a definite number of minutes daily. The owner does not take the trouble 
to calculate a cycle in which the total of minutes lost will bring the watch 
round to the correct time : he bears with the irregularity as long as his affairs 

1 Tins is the name still given by the Copts to the five epagonienal days (Sterh, Koptische 
Grammatik, p. 137 ; Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum Mgyptiacarum, p. 479, et seq.). 

2 Krall has shown that the Sotbic cycle was devised and adapted to the ancient history 
of Egypt under the Antoniues (Krall, Studien zur GeschicMe dts Altcn JEyyptens, i. p. 7b'. 
ct seq.). 




do not suffer by it ; but wheu it causes bim inconvenience, he alters the bands 
to the right hour, and repeats this operation each time he finds it necessary, 
without being guided by a fixed rule. In b^ke manner the Egyptian year 
fell into hopeless confusion with regard to the seasons, the discrepancy 
continually increasing, until the difference became so great, that the king 
or the priests had to adjust the two by a process similar to that employed 
in the case of the watch. 1 

The days, moreover, had each their special virtues, which it was necessary 
for man to know if he wished to profit by the advantages, or to escape the 
perils which they possessed for him. There was not one among them that 
did not recall some incident of the divine wars, and had not witnessed a battle 
between the partisans of Sit and those of Osiris or Eâ ; the victories or the 
disasters which they had chronicled had as it were stamped them with good 
or bad luck, and for that reason they remained for ever either auspicious or 
the reverse. It was on the 17th of Athyr that Typhon had enticed his brother 
to come to him, and had murdered him in the middle of a banquet. 2 Every 
year, on this day, the tragedy that had taken place in the earthly abode of 
the god seemed to be repeated afresh in the heights of heaven. Just as 
at the moment of the death of Osiris, the powers of good were at their 
weakest, and the sovereignty of evil everywhere prevailed, so the whole of 
Nature, abandoned to the powers of darkness, became inimical to man. 
Whatever he undertook on that day issued in failure. 3 If he went out 
to walk by the river-side, a crocodile would attack him, as the crocodile 
sent by Sit had attacked Osiris. 4 If he set out on a journey, it was a last 
farewell which he bade to his family and friends : death would meet him 
by the way. 5 To escape this fatality, he must shut himself up at home, 6 and 

1 The questions relating to the divisions and defects of the Egyptian year have given rise to a 
considerable number of works, in which much science and ingenuity have been expended, often to no 
purpose. I have limited myself, in my remarks on the subject, to what seemed to me most probable 
and in conformity with what we know of Egyptian belief. The Anastasi Papyrus IV. (pi. x. 11. 1-5) 
has preserved the complaint of an Egyptian of the time of Mînephtah or of Seti II., with regard to 
the troubles suffered by the people owing to the defects of the year (Maspero, Notes au jour le jour, 
§ 4, in the Proceedings of the Biblical Arclixological Society, vol. xiii. pp. 303-410). 

2 The date of the 17th of Athyr, given by the Greeks (De Iside et Osiride, § 13, edit. Parthey, 
pp. 21-23), is confirmed by several Pharaonic texts, such as the Saltier Papyrus IV., pi. viii. 11. 4-6. 

* The 12th of Paophi, the day on which one of the followers of Osiris joined himself to Sit, 
"whatsoever thou mayest do on this day, misfortune will come this day" (Sallier Pap. IV., pi. v. 
1. 1). 

4 The 22nd of Paophi, "do not bathe in any water on this day : whosoever sails on the river this 
day, will be torn in pieces by the tongue of the divine crocodile " (Sallier Pap. IV., pi. vi. 11. 5, 6). 

5 The 20th of Mechir, " think not to set forth in a boat " (Sallier Pap. IV., pl. xvii. 1. 8). The 
24th, "set not out on this day to descend the river; whosoever approaches the river on this day loses 
his life " (id., pl. xviii. 11. 1, 2). 

6 The 4th of Paophi, " go not forth from thy house in any direction on this day " (Sallier Pap. 
IV., pl. iv. 1. 3), neither on the 5th (id., pi. iv. 11. 3, 4) ; the 5th of Pakhons, " whosoever goes forth 
from his house on this day will be attacked and die from fevers" (id., pi. xxiii. 11. 8, 9). 



wait in inaction until the hours of danger had passed and the sun of the 
ensuing day had put the evil one to flight. 1 It was to his interest to 
know these adverse influences; and who would have known them all, had 
not Thot pointed them out and marked them in his calendars? One of 
these, long fragments of which have come down to us, indicated briefly 
the character of each day, the gods who presided over it, the perils which 
accompanied their patronage, or the good fortune which might be expected 
of them. 2 The details of it are not always intelligible to us, as we are still 
ignorant of many of the episodes in the life of Osiris. The Egyptians were 
acquainted with the matter from childhood, and were guided with sufficient 
exactitude by these indications. The hours of the night were all inauspi- 
cious ; 3 those of the day were divided into three " seasons " of four hours 
each, of which some were lucky, while others were invariably of ill omen. 4 
" The 4th of Tybi : good, good, good. Whatsoever thou seest on this day will 
be fortunate. Whosoever is born on this day, will die more advanced in years 
than any of his family ; he will attain to a greater age than his father. 
The 5th of Tybi : inimical, inimical, inimical. This is the day on which 
the goddess Sokhît, mistress of the double white Palace, burnt the chiefs 
when they raised an insurrection, came forth, and manifested themselves. 5 
Offerings of bread to Shu, Phtah, Thot : burn incense to Kâ, and to the 
gods who are his followers, to Phtah, Thot, Hû-Sû, on this day. Whatsoever 
thou seest on this day will be fortunate. The 6th of Tybi : good, good, good. 
Whatsoever thou seest on this day will be fortunate. The 7th of Tybi : 
inimical, inimical, inimical. Do not join thyself to a woman in the presence 

1 On the 20th of Thot no work was to be done, no oxen killed, no stranger received (Sallier Papy- 
rus IV., pi. i. 11. 2, 3). On the 22ud no fish might be eaten, no oil lamp was to be lighted (id., pl. L 
11. 8, 9). On the 23rd " put no incense on the fire, nor kill big cattle, nor goats, nor ducks ; eat of no 
goose, nor of that which lias lived" (id., pl. i. L 9 J pl. ii. 1. 1). On the 26th "do absolutely nothing 
on this day " (id., pi. ii. 11. 6, 7), and the same advice is found on the 7th of Paophi (id., pl. iv. 1. 6), 
on the 18th (id., pl. v. 1. 8), on the 2Gth (id., pl. vi. 1. 9), on the 27th (id., pl. vi. 1. 10), and more than 
thirty times in the remainder of the Sallier Calendar. On the 30th of Mechir it is forbidden to speak 
aloud to any one (id., pi. xviii. 11. 7, 8). 

2 The Sallier Papyrus IV. in the British Museum, published in Select Papyri, vol. i. pi. cxliv.- 
clxviii. Its value was recognized by Champollion (Salvolini, Campagne de Eamsès le Grand, p. 121, 
note 1), and au analysis was made of it by E. de Kougé (Mémoire sur quelques phénomènes célestes, 
pp. 35-39 ; cf. Iîevue Archéologique, 1st series, vol. ix.) ; it has been entirely translated by Chabas (Le 
Calendrier des jours fastes et néfastes de Vannée égyptienne). 

3 Some nights were more inauspicious than others, and furnished a pretext for special advice. 
On the 9th of Thot " go not out at night" (Sallier Pap. IV., pl. iii. 1. 8), also on the 15th of Khoiak 
(id., pl. xi. 1. 5) and the 27th (id., pl. xii. 1. 6); on the 5th of Phamenôth, the fourth hour of the 
night only was dangerous (id., pl. xix. 1. 2). 

4 For this division of the day into three seasons — " tori," cf. Maspero, Études Egyptiennes, vol. i. 
p. 30, note 2. Sunrise and sunset especially had harmful influences, against which it was necessary 
to be on one's guard (Sallier Pap. IV., pi. ii. 1. 4 ; pl. v. 1. 5 ; pi. vi. . 6; pi. xv. 11. 2, 6 ; pi. xvii. 
11. 2, 3; pi. xviii. 11. 6, 7; pi. xix. 1. 4; pi. xxiii. 11. 2, 3). 

5 This is an allusion to the revolt of men against Kâ, and to the revenge taken by the god Pharaoh 
by means of the goddess Sokhît ; cf. the account given on p. 165 of this History. 



of the Eye of Horus. Beware of letting the fire go out which is in thy house. 
The 8th of Tybi : good, good, good. Whatsoever thou seest with thine eye 
this day, the Ennead of the gods will grant to thee : the sick will recover. 
The 9th of Tybi : good, good, good. The gods cry out for joy at noon this day. 
Bring offerings of festal cakes and of fresh bread, which rejoice the heart of 
the gods and of the manes. The 10th of Tybi : inimical, inimical, inimical. 
Do not set fire to weeds on this day : it is the day on which the god Sap-hôù 
set fire to the land of Bûto. 1 The 11th of Tybi : inimical, inimical, inimical. 
Do not draw nigh to any flame on this day, for Râ entered the flames to strike 
all his enemies, and whosoever draws nigh to them on this day, it shall not be 
well with him during his whole life. The 12th of Tybi : inimical, inimical, 
inimical. See that thou beholdest not a rat on this day, nor approachest any 
rat within thy house : it is the day wherein Sokhît gave forth the decrees." 2 
In these cases a little watchfulness or exercise of memory sufficed to put 
a man on his guard against evil omens; but in many circumstances all the 
vigilance in the world would not protect him, and the fatality of the day 
would overtake him, without his being able to do ought to avert it. No man 
can at will place the day of his birth at a favourable time ; he must accept 
it as it occurs, and yet it exercises a decisive influence on the manner of his 
death. According as he enters the world on the 4th, 5th, or 6th of Paophi, 
he either dies of marsh fever, of love, or of drunkenness. 8 The child of the 
23rd perishes by the jaws of a crocodile : 4 that of the 27th is bitten and dies 
by a serpent. 5 On the other hand, the fortunate man whose birthday falls 
on the 9th or the 29th lives to an extreme old age, and passes away peacefully, 
respected by all. 6 

Thot, having pointed out the evil to men, gave to them at the same 
time the remedy. The magical arts of which he was the repository, made 
him virtual master of the other gods. 7 He knew their mystic names, their 
secret weaknesses, the kind of peril they most feared, the ceremonies which 
subdued them to his will, the prayers which they could not refuse to grant 
under pain of misfortune or death. His wisdom, transmitted to his wor- 
shippers, assured to them the same authority which he exercised upon those 

1 The incident in the divine wars to which this passage alludes is as yet unknown. 

* Sallier Papyrus IV., pl. xiii. 1. 3 ; pl. xiv. 1. 3 ; cf. Maspero, Etudes Egyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 30-35 ; 
Chabas, Le Calendrier des jours fastes et néfastes, pp. 65-09. The decrees of Sokhît were those put 
forth by the goddess at the end of the reign of Râ for the destruction of men. 

s Sallier Papyrus IV., pl. iv. 1. 3, pp. 4-6. 

* Id., pl. vi. 1. 6 ; in the story, this was one of the fates announced to the " Predestined Prince." 
! Id., pl. vii. 1. 1. 

6 Id., pi. iv. 1. 8 ; pi. vii. 11. 1, 2. 

7 For the magic power of Thot, the "correct voice" which he prescribes, and his books of incan- 
tation, see pp. 145, 146 of this History. 



in heaven, on earth, or in the nether world. The magicians instructed in his 
school had, like the god, control of the words and sounds which, emitted at the 
favourable moment with the "correct voice," would evoke the most formidable 
deities from beyond the confines of the universe : they could bind and loose 
at will Osiris, Sit, Anubis, even Thot himself; they could send them forth, 
and recall them, or constrain them to work and fight for them. The extent 
of their power exposed the magicians to terrible temptations ; they were often 
led to use it to the detriment of others, to satisfy their spite, or to gratify 
their grosser appetites. Many, moreover, made a gain of their knowledge, 
putting it at the service of the ignorant who would pay for it. When they 

1 Wr 7 

Mat/ -t u nmk 


were asked to plague or get rid of an enemy, they had a hundred different 
ways of suddenly surrounding him without his suspecting it : they tor- 
mented him with deceptive or terrifying dreams ; 2 they harassed him with 
apparitions and mysterious voices ; they gave him as a prey to sicknesses, to 
wandering spectres, who entered into him and slowly consumed him. 3 They 
constrained, even at a distance, the wills of men ; they caused women to be 
the victims of infatuations, to forsake those they had loved, and to love those 
they had previously detested. 4 In order to compose an irresistible charm, 
they merely required a little blood from a person, a few nail-parings, some 
hair, or a scrap of linen which he had worn, and which, from contact with 
his skin, had become impregnated with his personality. Portions of these 
were incorporated with the wax of a doll which they modelled, and 
clothed to resemble their victim ; thenceforward all the inflictions to which 
the image was subjected were experienced by the original ; he was consumed 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the tracing by Golénischeff, Die Metfernich-Stele, pi. iii. 14. 

* Most of the magical books contain formularies for "the sending of dreams;" e.g. Papyrus 3229 
in the Louvre (MASPEiiO,.il/l»iotYe sur quelques Papyrus du Louvre, pis. i.-viii., and pp. 113-123), the 
Gnostic Papyrus of Leyden and the incantations in Greek which accompany it (Leemans, Monuments 
Égyptiens, vol. i. pis. 1-14, and Papyri Grseci, vol. ii. p. 16, et seq.). 

3 Thus in the hieroglyphic text (Shakpe, Egyptian Inscriptions, 1st series, pi. xii. 11. 15, 16), 
quoted for the first time by Chabas (De quelques textes hiéroglyphiques relatifs aux esprits possesseurs, 
in the Bidletin Archéologique de V Athénseum Français, 1856, p. 44): "That no dead man nor woman 
enter into him, that the shade of no manes haunt him." 

4 Gnostic Papyrus of Leyden, p. xiv. 1. 1, et seq. (in Leemans, Monuments Égyptiens du Musée de 
Lcyde, pl. vii.) ; cf. Kévillotjt, Les Arts Égyptiens in the Revue- Égyptologique, vol. i. pp. 169-172. 



with fever when his effigy was exposed to the fire, he was wounded when 
the figure was pierced by a knife. The Pharaohs themselves had no immunity 
from these spells. 1 These machinations were wont to be met by others of 
the same kind, and magic, if invoked at the right moment, was often able 
to annul the ills which magic had begun. It was not indeed all-powerful 
against fate : the man born on the 27th of Paophi would die of a snake-bite, 
whatever charm he might use to protect himself. But if the day of his death 
were foreordained, at all events the year in which it would occur was 
uncertain, and it was easy for the magician to arrange that it should not 
take place prematurely. A formula recited opportunely, a sentence of prayer 
traced on a papyrus, a little statuette worn about the person, the smallest 
amuiet blessed and consecrated, put to flight the serpents who were the 
instruments of fate. Those curious stelœ on which we see Horus half naked, 
standing on two crocodiles and brandishing in his fists creatures which had 
reputed powers of fascination, were so many protecting talismans ; set up at 
the entrance to a room or a house, they kept off the animals represented 
and brought the evil fate to nought. Sooner or later destiny would doubt- 
less prevail, and the moment would come when the fated serpent, eluding 
all precautions, would succeed in carrying out the sentence of death. At all 
events the man would have lived, perhaps to the verge of old age, perhaps 
to the years of a hundred and ten, to which the wisest of the Egyptians hoped 
to attain, and which period no man born of mortal mother might exceed. 3 
If the arts of magic could thus suspend the law of destiny, how much more 
efficacious were they when combating the influences of secondary deities, the evil 
eye, and the spells of man ? Thot, who was the patron of sortilege, presided 
also over exorcisms, and the criminal acts which some committed in his name 
could have reparation made for them by others in his name. To malicious 
genii, genii still stronger were opposed ; to harmful amulets, those which were 
protective ; to destructive measures, vitalizing remedies ; and this was not even 
the most troublesome part of the magicians' task. Nobody, in fact, among 
those delivered by their intervention escaped unhurt from the trials to which 
he had been subjected. The possessing spirits when they quitted their victim 
generally left behind them traces of their occupation, in the brain, heart, 
lungs, intestines — in fact, in the whole body. The illnesses to which the 

1 Spells were employed against Eamses III. (Chabas, Le Papyrus Magique Harris, pp. 170, 172 ; 
DÉvÈBiA, Le Papyrus judiciaire de Turin, pp. 125, 126, 131), and the evidence in the criminal charge 
brought against the magicians explicitly mentions the wax figures and the philters used on this 

2 See the curious memoir by Goodwin in Chabas, Mélanges Égyptologiques, 2nd series, pp. 231-237, 
on the age of a hundred and ten years, and its mention in Pharaonic and Coptic documents. 



human race is prone, were not indeed all brought about by enchanters 
relentlessly persecuting their enemies, but they were all attributed to the 
presence of an invisible 
being, whether spectre or 
demon, who by some super- 
natural means had been made 
to enter the patient, or who, 
unbidden, had by malice or 
necessity taken up his abode 
within him. 1 It was needful, 
after expelling the intruder, 
to re-establish the health of 
the sufferer by means of fresh 
remedies. The study of 
simples and other materiœ 
medicœ would furnish these ; 
Thot had revealed himself 
to man as the first magician, 
he became in like manner 
for them the first physician 
and the first surgeon. 2 

Egypt is naturally a very 
salubrious country, and the 
Egyptians boasted that they 
were "the healthiest of all 
mortals ; " but they did not 
neglect any precautions to 
maintain their health. 
"Every month, for three 
successive days, they purged 

the system by means of emetics or clysters. 4 The study of medicine with 
them was divided between specialists ; each physician attending to one kind 

1 Upon this conception of sickness and death, see pp. Ill, 112 of this History. 

2 The testimony of classical writers and of the Egyptian monuments to Thot as physician and 
surgeon has been collected and brought up to date by Pietschmann, Hermes Trismegistos, p. 20, et 
8eq., 43, et seq., 57. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from an Alexandrian stele in the Gîzeh Museum (Mariette, Monu- 
ments divers, pi. 15 and text, pp. 3, 4). The reason for the appearance of so many different animals 
in this stele and in others of the same nature, has been given by Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et 
d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 417-419; they were all supposed to possess the evil eye and to 
be able to fascinate their victim before striking him. 

4 Herod., ii. 77; the testimony of Herodotus in regard to potions and clysters is confirmed by 
that of the medical Papyri of Egypt (Chabas, Melanges Égyptologiques, 1st series, p. 65, et seq.). 




of illness only. Every place possessed several doctors ; some for diseases of 
the eyes, others for the head, or the teeth, or the stomach, or for internal 
diseases." 1 But the subdivision was not carried to the extent that Herodotus 
would make us believe. It was the custom to make a distinction only between 
the physician trained in the priestly schools, and further instructed by daily 
practice and the study of books, — the bone-setter attached to the worship of 
Sokhît who treated fractures by the intercession of the goddess, — and the 
exorcist, who professed to cure by the sole virtue of amulets and magic 
phrases. 2 The professional doctor treated all kinds of maladies, but, as with 
us, there were specialists for certain affections, who were consulted in 
preference to general practitioners. If the number of these specialists was 
so considerable as to attract the attention of strangers, it was because the 
climatic character of the country necessitated it. Where ophthalmia and 
affections of the intestines raged violently, we necessarily find many oculists 3 
as well as doctors for internal maladies. The best instructed, however, knew 
but little of anatomy. As with the Christian physicians of the Middle Ages, 
religious scruples prevented the Egyptians from cutting open or dissecting, 
in the cause of pure science, the dead body which was identified with that 
of Osiris. The processes of embalming, which would have instructed them 
in anatomy, were not intrusted to doctors ; the horror was so great with which 
any one was regarded who mutilated the human form, that the " paraschite," 
on whom devolved the duty of making the necessary incisions in the dead, 
became the object of universal execration: as soon as he had finished his 
task, the assistants assaulted him, throwing stones at him with such violence 
that he had to take to his heels to escape with his life. 4 The knowledge of 
what went on within the body was therefore but vague. Life seemed to be a 
little air, a breath which was conveyed by the veins from member to member. 
"The head contains twenty-two vessels, which draw the spirits into it and 
send them thence to all parts of the body. There are two vessels for the 
breasts, which communicate heat to the lower parts. There are two vessels 
for the thighs, two for the neck, 5 two for the arms, two for the back of the 

1 Herodotus, ii. 84, and the commentary of Wiedemann on these two passages (Ilerodots Zweites 
Buck, p. 322, et seq., 344, 345). 

2 This division into three categories, indicated by the Ebers Papyrus, pi. xcix. 11. 2, 3, has been 
confirmed by a curious passage in a Grœco-Egyptiau treatise on alchemy (Maspebo, Notes au jour le 
jour, § 13, in the Proceedings of the Biblical Archaeological Society, vol. xiii. pp. 501-503). 

3 Affections of the eyes occupy one-fourth of the Ebers Papyrus (Ebers, Das Kapitel iiber die 
Augenkranliheiten, in the Abh. der phil.-hist. Classe der Konigl. Sachs. Gesells. der Wissenscha/ten, 
vol. xi. pp. 199-336 ; cf. J. Hirschberg, JEgypten, Geschichtliche Studien eines Augenarztes, pp. 

* DlODORUS Sictlus, i. 91. 

5 These two vessels, not mentioned in the Ebers and the Berlin Papyri througli the inadvertenoe 
of the copyist, were restored to the text of the general enumeration by H. Sch^fer, Beitrâge zur 
Erhldrung des Papyrus Ebers (in the Zeitschrift, vol. xxx. pp. 35-37). 



head, two for the forehead, two for the eyes, two for the eyelids, two for 
the right ear by which enter the breaths of life, and two for the left ear 
which in like manner admit the breaths of death." 1 The " breaths " 
entering by the right ear, are " the good airs, the delicious airs of the 
north ; " the sea-breeze which tempers 
the burning of summer and renews the 
strength of man, continually weakened 
by the heat and threatened with ex- 
haustion. These vital spirits, entering 
the veins and arteries by the ear or 
nose, mingled with the blood, which 
carried them to all parts of the body ; 
they sustained the animal and were, 
so to speak, the cause of its movement. 
The heart, the perpetual mover — hâîti 
— collected them and redistributed them 
throughout the body : it was regarded 
as " the beginning of all the mem- 
bers," and whatever part of the living 
body the physician touched, " whether 
the head, the nape of the neck, the 

hands, the breast, the arras, the legs, his hand lit upon the heart," and 
he felt it beating under his fingers. 3 Under the influence of the good 
breaths, the vessels were inflated and worked regularly ; under that of the 
evil, they became inflamed, were obstructed, were hardened, or gave way, 
and the physician had to remove the obstruction, allay the inflammation, 
and re-establish their vigour and elasticity. At the moment of death, 
the vital spirits "withdrew with the soul; the blood," deprived of air, 
" became coagulated, the veins and arteries emptied themselves, and the 
creature perished " for want of breaths. 4 

The majority of the diseases from which the ancient Egyptians suffered, 
are those which still attack their successors ; ophthalmia, affections of the 


1 Ebers Papyrus, pl. xcix. I. 1-c. L 14 ; The Berlin Medical Papyrus, pl. xv. 1. 5, pi, xvi. 1. 3 ; cf. 
Chabas, Mélanges Égyptologiques, 1st series, pp. 63,64; Brugsch, Recueil de Monuments Égyptiens 
dessiné* sur les lieux, vol. ii. pp. 114, 115. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Naville, in the Mgyptisclie Todtenbuch, vol. i. 
pi. lxix. The deceased carries in his band a sail inflated by the wind, symbolizing the air, and holds 
it to his nostrils that he may inhale the breaths which will fill anew his arteries, and bring life to 
his limbs. 

3 Ebers Papyrus, pi. xcix. 11. 1-4. It has been thought from that passage that the Egyptians had 
a vague preconception of the circulation of the blood. 

* Pœmander, § x., Parthey's edition, pp. 75, 76. 



stomach, 1 abdomen, and bladder, 2 intestinal worms, 3 varicose reins, ulcers 
in the leg, the Nile pimple, 4 and finally the " divine mortal malady," the 
divinus morbus of the Latins, epilepsy. 5 Anœniia, from which at least one- 
fourth of the present population suffers, 6 was not less prevalent than at present, 
if we may judge from the number of remedies which were used against 
hrRmatnria, the principal caus e of it. The fertility of the women entailed a 
number of infirmities or local affections which the doctors attempted to relieve, 
not always with success. 7 The science of those days treated externals only, 
and occupied itself merely with symptoms easily determined by sight or touch ; 
it never suspected that troubles which showed themselves in two widely 
remote parts of the body might only be different effects of the same illness, 
and they classed as distinct maladies those indications which we now know to 
be the symptoms of one disease. 8 They were able, however, to determine fairly 
well the specific characteristics of ordinary affections, and sometimes described 
them in a precise and graphic fashion. "The abdomen is heavy, the pit 
of the stomach painful, the heart burns and palpitates violently. The 
clothing oppresses the sick man and he can barely support it. Nocturnal 
thirsts. His heart is sick, as that of a man who has eaten of the sycamore 
gum. The flesh loses its sensitiveness as that of a man seized with illness. 
If he seek to satisfy a want of nature he finds no relief. Say to this, ' There 
is an accumulation of humours in the abdomen, which makes the heart sick. 
I will act.' " 9 This is the beginning of gastric fever so common in Egypt, 

" Designated by the name ro-àbû. Ro-àbû is also a general term, comprising, besides the stomach, 
all the internal parts of the body in the region of the diaphragm ; cf. Maspero in the Revue critique, 
1875, vol. i. p. 237 ; Luring, Die iiber die medicinischen Kenntnisse der alten JEgypter berichtenden 
Papyri, pp. 22-24, 70, et seq. ; Joachim, Papyrus Ebers, p. xviii. The recipes for the stomach are 
confined for the most part to the Ebers Papyrus, pis. xxxvi.-xliv. 

2 Ebers Papyrus, pis. ii., xvi., xxiii., xxxvi., etc. 

3 Ebers Papyrus, pi. xvi. 1. 15, pi. xxiii. 1. 1 ; cf. Luring, Die iiber die medicinischen Kenntnisse 
der alten 2Egypter berichtenden Papyri, p. 16 ; Joachim, Papyrus Ebers, pp. xvii., xviii. 

4 Medical Papyrus of Berlin, pl. iii. 1. 5, pl. vi. 1. 6, pl. x. 1. 3, et seq. 

5 Bkugsch, Recueil de Monuments Egyptiens dessinés sur les lieux, vol. ii. p. 109. 

6 Griesinger, Klinische und Anatomische Beobachtungen iiber die Kranliheiten von JEgypten in the 
Archie fiir physiologische Heilkunde, vol. xiii. p. 556. 

7 With regard to the diseases of women, cf. Ebers Papyrus, pis. xciii., xcviii., etc. Several of the 
recipes are devoted to the solution of a problem which appears to have greatly exercised the mind of 
the ancients, viz. the determination of the sex of a child before its birth {Medical Papyrus of Berlin, 
verso pis. i., ii. ; cf. Chabas, Mélanges Egyptologiques, 1st series, pp. 68-70; Brtjgsch, Recueil de 
Monuments, vol. ii. pp. 116, 117); analogous formularies in writers of classical antiquity or of modern 
times have been cited by Lepage-Benouf, Note on the Medical Papyrus of Berlin (in the Zeitschrift, 
1873, pp. 123-125), by Erman, AEgypten und Mgyptisches Leben im Altertum, p. 486, and by Luring, 
Die iiber die medicinischen Kenntnisse der alttn Mgypler berichtenden Papyri, pp. 139-141. 

8 This is particularly noticeable in the chapters which treat of diseases of the eyes ; cf. on this 
subject the remarks of Maspero in the Revue critique, 1889, vol. ii. p. 365. 

9 Medical Papyrus of Berlin, pi. xiii. 11. 3-6 ; cf. Chabas, Mélanges Egyptologiques, 1st series, 
p. 60 ; Brugsch, Recueil de Monuments, vol. ii. pp. 112, 113. A whole series of diagnoses, worded with 
much clearness, will be found, in the treatise on diseases of the stomach in the Ebers Papyrus, 



and a modern physician could not better diagnose such a case ; the phraseology 
would be less flowery, but the analysis of the symptoms would not differ from 
that given us by the ancient practitioner. The medicaments recommended 
comprise nearly everything which can in some way or other be swallowed, 
whether in solid, mucilaginous, or liquid form. 1 Vegetable remedies are 
reckoned by the score, from the most modest herb to the largest tree, such 
as the sycamore, palm, acacia, and cedar, of which the sawdust and shavings 
were supposed to possess both antiseptic and emollient properties. Among the 
mineral substances are to be noted sea-salt, alum, 2 nitre, sulphate of copper, and 
a score of different kinds of stones — among the latter the " memphite stone " 
was distinguished for its virtues ; if applied to parts of the body which were 
lacerated or unhealthy, it acted as an anaesthetic and facilitated the success 
of surgical operations. Flesh taken from the living subject, the heart, the 
liver, the gall, the blood — either dried or liquid — of animals, the hair and 
horn of stags, were all customarily used in many cases where the motive 
determining their preference above other material medicvs is unknown to us. 
Many recipes puzzle us by their originality and by the barbaric character 
of the ingredients recommended : " the milk of a woman who has given 
birth to a boy," the dung of a lion, a tortoise's brains, an old book boiled 
in oil. 8 The medicaments compounded of these incongruous substances were 
often very complicated. It was thought that the healing power was increased 
by multiplying the curative elements ; each ingredient acted upon a specific 
region of the body, and after absorption, separated itself from the rest to 
bring its influence to bear upon that region. The physician made use 
of all the means which we employ to-day to introduce remedies into the 
human system, whether pills or potions, poultices or ointments, draughts or 
clysters. Not only did he give the prescriptions, but he made them up, thus 

pl. xxxvi. 1. 4, xliv. 1. 12; cf. Maspeuo in the Revue critique, 1876, vol. i. pp. 235-237; Joachim, 
Papyrus Ebers, pp. 39-53. 

1 The partial enumeration and identification of the ingredients which enter into the composition 
of Egyptian medicaments have been made by Chabas {Mélanges Égyptologiques, 1st series, pp. 71-77, 
and I! Égyptologie, vol. i. pp. 186, 187) ; by Brugsch (Recueil de Monuments, vol. ii. p. 105) ; by Stern 
in the Glossary which he has made to the Ebers Papyrus, and more recently by Luring (Vie iiber die 
medicinischen Kenntnisse der alten JEgypter berichtenden Papyri, pp. 85-120, 143-170). 

2 Alum was called abenû, ôben, in ancient Egyptian (Loret, Le Nom égyptien de l'Alun, in the 
Recueil de Travaux, vol. xv. pp. 199, 200); for the considerable quantity produced, cf. Herodotus, 
ii. 180, and Wiedemann's Commentary, Herodots Zweites Buck, pp. 610, 611. 

3 Ebers Papyrus, pl. lxxviii. 1. 22 — lxxix. 1. 1 : " To relieve a child who is constipated. — An old 
book. Boil it in oil, and apply half to the stomach, to provoke evacuation." It must not be forgotten 
that, the writings being on papyrus, the old book in question, once boiled, would have an effect 
analogous to that of our linseed-meal poultices. If the physician recommended taking an old one, 
it was for economical reasons merely ; the Egyptians of the middle classes would always have in their 
possession a number of letters, copy-books, and other worthless waste papers, of which they would 
gladly rid themselves in such a profitable manner 


combining the art of the physician with that of the dispenser. He prescribed 
the ingredients, pounded them either separately or together, he macerated 
them in the proper way, boiled them, reduced them by heating, and filtered 
them through linen. 1 Fat served him as the ordinary vehicle for ointments, 
and pure water for potions ; but he did not despise other liquids, such as wine, 
beer (fermented or unfermented), vinegar, milk, olive oil, " ben " oil either 
crude or refined, 2 even the urine of men and animals : the whole, sweetened 
with honey, was taken hot, night and morning. 3 The use of more than one 
of these remedies became world-wide; the Greeks borrowed them from the 
Egyptians; we have piously accepted them from the Greeks; and our 
contemporaries still swallow with resignation many of the abominable mix- 
tures invented on the banks of the Nile, long before the building of the 

It was Thot who had taught men arithmetic ; Thot had revealed to them 
the mysteries of geometry and mensuration ; Thot had constructed instruments 
and promulgated the laws of music ; Thot had instituted the art of drawing, 
and had codified its unchanging rules. 4 He had been the inventor or patron 
of all that was useful or beautiful in the Nile valley, and the climax of his 
beneficence was reached by his invention of the principles of writing, without 
which humanity would have been liable to forget his teaching, and to lose 
the advantage of his discoveries. 5 It has been sometimes questioned whether 
writing, instead of having been a benefit to the Egyptians, did not rather 
injure them. An old legend relates that when the god unfolded his dis- 
covery to King Thamos, whose minister he was, the monarch immediately 
raised an objection to it. Children and young people, who had hitherto been 
forced to apply themselves diligently to learn and retain whatever was taught 
them, now that they possessed a means of storing up knowledge without 
trouble, would cease to apply themselves, and would neglect to exercise their 
memories. 6 Whether Thamos was right or not, the criticism came too late : 

1 I know of no description of the methods for making up pharmaceutical preparations ; but an 
idea can be formed of the minuteness and care with which the Egyptians performed these operations, 
from the receipts preserved, as at Edfu, for the preparation of the perfumes used in the temples. 
Dumichen, Der Grabpalast des Patuamenemapt, vol. ii. pp. 13-32 ; Loret, Le Kyphi, parfum mere 
des anciens Égyptiens, taken from the Journal Asiatique, 8th series, vol. x. pp. 76-132. 

: The moringa, which supplies the "ben" oil, 13 the Bikû of the Egyptian texts (Loret, 
Recherches sur plusieurs plantes connues des Anciens Égyptiens, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. vii. 
pp. 103-106). 

3 Chabas, Mélanges Égyptologiques, 1st series, pp. 66, 67, 78, 79; Luring, Ueler die medicinischen 
Kenntnisse der alten Mgypter berichtenden Papyri, pp. 165-170. 

* For these various attributions to Thot, see the passages from Egyptian inscriptions and from 
classical authors, collected by Pietschmann, Hermes Trismegistos, p. 13, et seq., 39, et seq. 

5 Concerning Thot as the inventor of writing, cf. the Egyptian texts of Pharaonic and Ptoleraaio 
times quoted by Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie der Alten Mgypter, p. 446. 

6 Pi.ato, Phsedrus, § lix., Didot's edition, vol. i. p. 733. 



" the ingenious art of painting words and of speaking to the eyes " had 
once for all been acquired by the Egyptians, and through them by the 
greater part of mankind. It was a very complex system, in which were 
united most of the methods fitted for giving expression to thought, namely : 
those which were limited to the presentment of the idea, and those which 
were intended to suggest sounds. 1 At the 
outset the use was confined to signs in- 
tended to awaken the idea of the object 
in the mind of the reader by the more or 
les3 faithful picture of the object itself; 
for example, they depicted the sun by a 
centred disc 0, the moon by a crescent 
(), a lion by a lion m the act of walking 
y^, a man by a small figure in a squat- 
ting attitude As by this method it 
was possible to convey only a very re- 
stricted number of entirely materialistic 
concepts, it became necessary to have re- 
course to various artifices in order to make 
up for the shortcomings of the ideograms 
properly so-called. The part was put for 
the whole, the pupil ® in place of the whole 
eye ««*•, the head of the ox * instead of 
the complete ox ^5. The Egyptians sub- 
stituted cause for effect and effect for cause, 
the instrument for the work accomplished, 
and the disc of the sun signified the 
day ; a smoking brazier J the fire : the brush, inkpot, and palette of the 
scribe |={| denoted writing or written documents. They conceived the idea of 
employing some object which presented an actual or supposed resemblance to 
the notion to be conveyed ; thus, the foreparts of a lion denoted priority, 
supremacy, command ; the wasp symbolized royalty and a tadpole ^ stood 
for hundreds of thousands. They ventured finally to use conventionalisms, as 
for instance when they drew the axe T for a god, or the ostrich-feather ^ for 


1 The gradual formation of the hieroglyphic system, and the nature of the various elements of 
which it was composed, have been very skilfully analysed by Yr. Lenormant, -Essai sur la propaga- 
tion de V 'alphabet phénicien parmi, les peuples de l'Ancien Monde, vol. i. pp. 1-52. 

* Bas-relief of the temple of Seti I. at Abydos, drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Beato. 
The god is marking with his reed-pen upon the notches of a long frond of palm, the duration in 
millions of years of the reign of Pharaoh upon this earth, in accordance with the decree of the gods. 



justice ; the sign in these cases had only a conventional connection with the 
concept assigned to it. At times two or three of these symbols were associated 
in order to express conjointly an idea which would have been inadequately 
rendered by one of them alone : a five-pointed star placed under an inverted 
crescent moon denoted a month, a calf running before the sign for water 
indicated thirst. All these artifices combined furnished, however, but 
a very incomplete means of seizing and transmitting thought. When the 
writer had written out twenty or thirty of these signs and the ideas which they 
were supposed to embody, he had before him only the skeleton of a sentence, 
from which the flesh and sinews had disappeared ; the tone and rhythm 
of the words were wanting, as were also the indications of gender, number, 
person, and inflection, which distinguish the different parts of speech and 
determine the varying relations between them. Besides this, in order to 
understand for himself and to guess the meaning of the author, the reader 
was obliged to translate the symbols which he deciphered, by means of words 
which represented in the spoken language the pronunciation of each symbol. 
Whenever he looked at them, they suggested to him both the idea and 
the word for the idea, and consequently a sound or group of sounds ; when 
each of them had thus acquired three or four invariable associations of sound, 
he forgot their purely ideographic value and accustomed himself to consider 
them merely as notations of sound. 

The first experiment in phonetics was a species of rebus, where each of 
the signs, divorced from its original sense, served to represent several words, 
similar in sound, but differing in meaning in the spoken language. The same 
group of articulations, Naxifir, Nofir, conveyed in Egyptian the concrete idea 
of a lute and the abstract idea of beauty ; the sign J expressed at once the 
lute and beauty. The beetle was called Khopirrû, and the verb " to be " was 
pronounced khopirû : the figure of the beetle -jjjîj consequently signified both 
the insect and the verb, and by further combining with it other signs, the 
articulation of each corresponding syllable was given in detail. The sieve © 
khaû, the mat ■ pû, pi, the mouth «=» ra, rû, gave the formula khaû-pi-rû, 
which was equivalent to the sound of khopirû, the verb " to be : " grouped 
together they denoted in writing the concept of "to be" by means of 
a triple rebus. In this system, each syllable of a word could be represented 
by one of several signs, all sounding alike. One-half of these " syllabics " 
stood for open, the other half for closed syllables, and the use of the former 
soon brought about the formation of a true alphabet. The final vowel in 
them became detached, and left only the remaining consonant — for example, 
r in rû, h in ha, n in ni, b in bû — so that «=» rû, f[] ha, ni, J bit, 


eventually stood for r, h, n, and b only. This process in the course of 
time having been applied to a certain number of syllables, furnished a fairly 
large alphabet, in which several letters represented each of the twenty-two 
chief articulations, which the scribes considered sufficient for their purposes. 
The signs corresponding to one and the same letter were homophones or 
"equivalents in sound" — <=, J, are homophones, just as / — v and %/ t 
because each of them, in the group to which it belongs, may be indifferently 
used to translate to the eye the articulations m or n. One would have 
thought that when the Egyptians had arrived thus far, they would have 
been led, as a matter of course, to reject the various characters which they 
had used each in its turn, in order to retain an alphabet only. But the 
true spirit of invention, of which they had given proof, abandoned them 
here as elsewhere : if the merit of a discovery was often their due, they 
were rarely able to bring their invention to perfection. They kept the 
ideographic and syllabic signs which they had used at the outset, and, 
with the residue of their successive notations, made for themselves a most 
complicated system, in which syllables and ideograms were mingled with 
letters properly so called. There is a little of everything in an Egyptian 
phrase, sometimes even in a word; as, for instance, in jflP^? maszirû, the 
ear, or .O^ J ^ ^ kherôù, the voice ; there are the syllabics (fl mas, ft zir, 
JWi TÎi, J Jihcr, the ordinary letters [) s, ^ u, «=» r, which complete the phonetic 
pronunciation, and finally the ideograms, namely, 9, which gives the picture 
of the ear by the side of the written word for it, and which proves that the 
letters represent a term designating an action of the mouth. This medley 
had its advantages; it enabled the Egyptians to make clear, by the picture 
of the object, the sense of words which letters alone might sometimes 
insufficiently explain. The system demanded a serious effort of memory and 
long years of study ; indeed, many people never completely mastered it. The 
picturesque appearance of the sentences, in which we see representations of 
men, animals, furniture, weapons, and tools grouped together in successive little 
pictures, rendered hieroglyphic writing specially suitable for the decoration 
of the temples of the gods or the palaces of kings. Mingled with scenes of 
worship, sacrifice, battle, or private life, the inscriptions frame or separate 
groups of personages, and occupy the vacant spaces which the sculptor or 
painter was at a loss to fill ; hieroglyphic writing is pre-eminently a monu- 
mental script. For the ordinary purposes of life it was traced in black or 
red ink on fragments of limestone or pottery, or on wooden tablets covered 
with stucco, and specially on the fibres of papyrus. The exigencies of haste 
and the unskilfulness of scribes soon changed both its appearance and its 



elements ; the characters when contracted, superimposed and united to one 
another with connecting strokes, preserved only the most distant resemblance 
to the persons or things which they had originally represented. This cursive 
writing, which was somewhat incorrectly termed hieratic, was used only for 
public or private documents, for administrative correspondence, or for the 
propagation of literary, scientific, and religious works. 

It was thus that tradition was pleased to ascribe to the gods, and among 
them to Thot — the doubly great — the invention of all the arts and sciences 
which gave to Egypt its glory and prosperity. It was clear, not only to 
the vulgar, but to the wisest of the nation, that, had their ancestors been 
left merely to their own resources, they would never have succeeded in 
raising themselves much above the level of the brutes. The idea that a 
discovery of importance to the country could have risen in a human brain, 
and, once made known, could have been spread and developed by the efforts 
of successive generations, appeared to them impossible to accept. They 
believed that every art, every trade, had remained unaltered from the outset, 
and if some novelty in its aspect tended to show them their error, they 
preferred to imagine a divine intervention, rather than be undeceived. 
The mystic writing, inserted as chapter sixty-four in the Booh of the 
Bead, and which subsequently was supposed to be of decisive moment 
to the future life of man, was, as they knew, posterior in date to the other 
formulas of which this book was composed ; they did not, however, regard 
it any the less as being of divine origin. It had been found one day, without 
any one knowing whence it came, traced in blue characters on a plaque 
of alabaster, at the foot of the statue of Thot, in the sanctuary of Hermopolis. 
A prince, Kardidûf, had discovered it in his travels, and regarding it as 
a miraculous object, had brought it to his sovereign. 1 This king, according 
to some, was Hûsaphaîti of the first dynasty, but by others was believed to 
be the pious Mykerinos. In the same way, the book on medicine, dealing 
with the diseases of women, was held not to be the work of a practitioner ; 
it had revealed itself to a priest watching at night before the Holy of Holies 
in the temple of Isis at Coptos. " Although the earth was plunged into 

1 With regard to this double origin of chap, lxiv., see Gtjieysse, Rituel Funéraire Égyptien, chap. 
64, pp. 10-12 and pp. 58, 59. I have given elsewhere my reasons for regarding this tradition as a 
proof of the comparatively modern recension of this chapter, though this is contrary to the generally 
received opinion, which would recognize in it an indication of the great antiquity which the 
Egyptians attributed to the work {Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 
367-369). A tablet of hard stone, the " Péroffsky plinth," which bears the text of this chapter, and 
which is now in the museum of the Hermitage (Golénischeff, Ermitage Impérial. Inventaire de 
la Collection Égyptienne, No. 1101, pp. 169, 170), is probably a facsimile of the original discovered 
in the temple of Thot. 



darknes?, the moon shone upon it and enveloped it with light. It was sent 
as a great wonder to the holiness of King Kheops, the just of speech." 1 The 
gods had thus exercised a direct influence upon men until they became 
entirely civilized, and this work of culture was apportioned among the three 
divine dynasties according to the strength of each. The first, which com- 
prised the most vigorous divinities, had accomplished the more difficult 
task of establishing the world on a solid basis; the second had carried on 
the education of the Egyptians ; and the third had regulated, in all its 
minutia;, the religious constitution of the country. When there was nothing 
more demanding supernatural strength or intelligence to establish it, the gods 
returned to heaven, and were succeeded on the throne by mortal men. One 
tradition maintained dogmatically that the first human king whose memory 
it preserved, followed immediately after the last of the gods, who, in quitting 
the palace, had made over the crown to man as his heir, and that the change 
of nature had not entailed any interruption in the line of sovereigns. 2 Another 
tradition would not allow that the contact between the human and divine 
series had been so close. Between the Ennead and Menés, it intercalated 
one or more lines of Theban or Thinite kings; but these were of so formless, 
shadowy, and undefined an aspect, that they were called Manes, and there 
was attributed to them at most only a passive existence, as of persons who 
had always been in the condition of the dead, and had never been subjected 
to the trouble of passing through life. 3 Menés was the first in order of 
those who were actually living. 4 From his time, the Egyptians claimed 
to possess an uninterrupted list of the Pharaohs who had ruled over the 
Nile valley. As far back as the XVIII th dynasty this list was written upon 
papyrus, and furnished the number of years that each prince occupied the 
throne, or the length of his life. 5 Extracts from it were inscribed in the 

1 Birch, Medical Papyrus with the name of Cheops, in the Zeitschrift, 1871, pp. Cl-74. 

s This tradition is related in the Chronicle of Scaliger (Lauth, Manetho und das Tiiriner Konigs- 
buch, pp. 8-11; cf. p. 74, et seq.), and in most of the ancient authors who have used Manetho's 
extracts (Muller-Didot, Fragmenta Historicorum Grxeorum, vol. ii. pp. 539, 540). 

3 This tradition occurs in the Armenian version of Eusebius, and, like the preceding one, comes 
from Manetho (Muller-Didot, Fragm. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 526, 528). One only of these kings. 
Bytis, is known to us, who perhaps may be identified with the Bitiii of an Egyptian tale. 

* Manetho (in Muller-Didot, Fragm. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. p. 539) : MeTa vskvus tous îini9éovs irpwrii 
/SaciAfi'a Karapi8fieÎTai fSaoiXtwv oktw, aie irpSnos Mr)vns @eieiT7)s ffiao-tKevatv 6tjj £/3'. Most classical 
authorities confirm the tradition which Manetho had found in the archives of the temples of Memphis 
(Herod., ii. 99; Diodorus Siculus, i. 43, 45, 94; Josephus, Ant. Jud., viii. 6, 2 ; Eratosthenes, in 
Muller-Didot, Fragm. Hist. Grxc., vol. ii. p. 540). 

4 The only one of these lists which we possess, the " Turin Koyal Papyrus," was bought, nearly 
intact, at Thebes, by Drovetti, about 1818, but was accidentally injured by him in bringing home. 
The fragments of it were acquired, together with the rest of the collection, by the Piedmontese 
Government in 1820, and placed in the Turin Museum, where Champollion saw and drew attention, 
1o them in 1824 (Papyrus Égyptiens historiques du Musée royal Égyptien, p. 7, taken from the Bulletin 
Fe'russac, eighth section, 1824, No. 292). Seyffarth carefully collected and arranged them in the 




temples, or even in the tombs of private persons ; and three of these abridged 
catalogues are still extant, two coming from the temples of Seti I. and 
Eamses II. at Abydos, 1 while the other was discovered in the tomb of a 
person of rank named Tunari, at Saqqâra. 2 They divided this interminable 
succession of often problematical personages into dynasties, following in this 
division, rules of which we are ignorant, and which varied in the course of 
ages. In the time of the Eamessicles, names in the list which subsequently 
under the Lagides formed five groups were made to constitute one single 
dynasty. 3 Manetho of Sebennytos, who wrote a history of Europe for the use 
of Alexandrine Greeks, had adopted, on some unknown authority, a division 
of thirty-one dynasties from Menés to the Macedonian Conquest, and his 
system has prevailed — not, indeed, on account of its excellence, but because 
it is the only complete one which has come down to us. 4 All the families 
inscribed in his lists ruled in succession. 5 The country was no doubt 

order in which they now are ; subsequently Lepsius gave a facsimile of them in 1840, in his Auswahl 
der wichtigsten Vrlcunden, pis. i.-vi., but this did not include the verso; Champollion-Figeac edited 
in 1847, in the Revue Archéologique, 1st series, vol. vi., the tracings taken by the younger Champollion 
before Seyffarth's arrangement; lastly, Wilkinson published the whole in detail in 1851 {The Frag- 
ments of the Hieratic Papyrus at Turin). Since then, the document has been the subject of continuous 
investigation : E. de Kougé has reconstructed, in an almost conclusive manner, the pages containing 
the first six dynasties {Recherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties de 
Manélhon, pl. iii.), and Lauth, with less certainty, those which deal with the eight following dynasties 
{Manetho und der Twiner Kônigspapyrus, pis. iv.-x.). 

1 The first table of Abydos, unfortunately incomplete, was discovered in the temple of Ramses II. 
by Banks, in 1818; the copy published by Caillaud {Voyage à Méroé, vol. iii. pp. 305-307, and pl. 
lxxii., No. 2) and by Salt {Essay on Dr. Young's and M. Champollion's Phonetic System of Hierogly- 
phics, p. 1, et seq., and frontispiece) served as a foundation for Champollion's first investigations on 
the history of Egypt {Lettres à M. de Blacas, 2° Lettre, p. 12, et seq., and pl. vi.). The original, 
brought to France by Mimaut (Dubois, Description des antiquités Egyptiennes, etc., pp. 19-28), was 
acquired by England, and is now in the British Museum. The second table, which is complete, all 
but a few signs, was brought to light by Mariette in 1864, in the excavations at Abydos, and was 
immediately noticed and published by Dumichen, Die Sethos Tafel von Abydos, in the Zeitschrift, 
1864, pp. 81-83. The text of it is to be found in Maeiette, La Nouvelle Table à" Abydos {Revue 
Archéologique, 2nd series, vol. xiii.), and Abydos, vol. i. pL 43. 

- The table of Saqqâra, discovered in 1863, has been published by Mariette, La Table de Saqqâra 
{Revue Archéologique, 2nd series, vol. x. p. 169, et seq.), and reproduced in the Monuments Divers, pi. 58. 

3 The Boyal Canon of Turin, which dates from the Bamesside period, gives, indeed, the names 
of these early kings without a break, until the list reaches Unas; at this point it sums up the 
number of Pharaohs and the aggregate years of their reigns, thus indicating the end of a dynasty 
(E. de KotTGÉ, Recherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties de 
Manéthon, pp. 15, 16, 25). In the intervals between the dynasties rubrics are placed, pointing out 
the changes which took place in the order of direct succession {id., pp. 160, 161). The division of the 
same group of sovereigns into five dynasties has been preserved to us by Manetho (in Muller-Didot, 
Fragmenta Historicorum Grxcorum, vol. ii. pp. 539-554). 

4 The best restoration of the system of Manetho is that by Lepsius, Das Konigsbuch der Alten 
JEgijpter, which should be completed and corrected from the memoirs of Lauth, Liebleiu, Krall, and 
Unger. A common fault attaches to all these memoirs, so remarkable in many respects. They 
regard the work of Manetho, not as representing a more or less ingenious system applied to Egyptian 
history, but as furnishing an authentic scheme of this history, in which it is necessary to enclose 
all the royal names which the monuments have revealed, and are still daily revealing to us ; cf. 
Maspero, Notes sur quelques points dans le Recueil de Travaux, t. xvii., p. 56 sqq., 121 sqq. 

5 E. de Bougé triumphantly demonstrated, in opposition to Bunsen, now nearly fifty years ago, 
that all Manetho's dynasties are successive {Examen, de l'ouvrage de M. le Chevalier de Bunsen, in the 


frequently broken up into a dozen or more independent states, each possessing 
its own kings during several generations ; but the annalists had from the 
outset discarded these collateral lines, and recognized only one legitimate 
dynasty, of which the rest were but vassals. Their theory of legitimacy does 
not always agree with actual history, and the particular line of princes which 
they rejected as usurpers represented at times the only family possessing 
true rights to the crown. 1 In Egypt, a3 elsewhere, the official chroniclers 
were often obliged to accommodate the past to the exigencies of the present, 
and to manipulate the annals to suit the reigning party ; while obeying their 
orders the chroniclers deceived posterity, and it is only by a rare chance that 
we can succeed in detecting them in the act of falsification, and can re-establish 
the truth. 

The system of Manetho, in the state in which it has been handed down 
to us by epitomizers, has rendered, and continues to render, service to science ; 
if it is not the actual history of Egypt, it is a sufficiently faithful substitute 
to warrant our not neglecting it when we wisli to understand and reconstruct 
the sequence of events. His dynasties furnish the necessary framework for 
most of the events and revolutions, of which the monuments have preserved 
us a record. At the outset, the centre to which the affairs of the country 
gravitated was in the extreme north of the valley. The principality which 
extended from the entrance of the Fayûm to the apex of the Delta, and 
subsequently the town of Memphis itself, imposed their sovereigns upon the 
remaining nomes, served as an emporium for Commerce and national industries, 
and received homage and tribute from neighbouring peoples. About the 
time of the Yl th dynasty this centre of gravity was displaced, and tended 
towards the interior ; it was arrested for a short time at Heracleopolis (IX th 
and X th dynasties), and ended by fixing itself at Thebes (XI th dynasty). 
From henceforth Thebes became the capital, and furnished Egypt with 
her rulers. With the exception of the XIV th Xoïte dynasty, all the 
families occupying the throne from the XI th to the XX th dynasty were 
Theban. When the barbarian shepherds invaded Africa from Asia, the 
Thebaïd became the last refuge and bulwark of Egyptian nationality ; its 

Annales de Philosophie chrétienne, 1846-47, vol. xiii.-xvi.), and the monuments discovered from year 
to year in Egypt have confirmed his demonstration in every detail. 

1 It is enough to give two striking examples of this. The royal lists of the time of the Eamessides 
suppress, at the end of the XVIII th dynasty, Amenôthes IV. aud several of his successors, and give 
the following sequence — Amenôthes III.,Harmhabît,Kamses I., without any apparent hiatus; Manetho, 
on the contrary, replaces the kings who were omitted, and keeps approximately to the real order 
between Horos (Amenôthes III.) and Armais (Harmhabît). Again, the official tradition of the 
XX th dynasty gives, between Ramses II. and Eamses III., the sequence — Mînephtah, Seti II.. 
Nakht-Seti ; Manetho, on the other hand, gives Amenemes followed by Thûôris, who appear to corre- 
spond to the Amenmeses and Siphtah of contemporary monuments, but, after Mînephtah, he omits 
Seti II. and Nakhîtou-Seti, the father of Bamses III. 



chiefs struggled for many centuries against the conquerors before tbey were 
able to deliver the rest of the valley. It was a Theban dynasty, the XVIII th , 
which inaugurated the era of foreign conquest ; but after the XIX th , a 
movement, the reverse of that which had taken place towards the end of 
the first period, brought back the centre of gravity, little by little, towards 
the north of the country. From the time of the XXI st dynasty, Thebes 
ceased to hold the position of capital : Tanis, Bubastis, Mendes, Sebennytos, 
and above all, Sais, disputed the supremacy with each other, and political 
life was concentrated in the maritime provinces. Those of the interior, ruined 
by Ethiopian and Assyrian invasions, lost their influence and gradually 
dwindled away. Thebes became impoverished and depopulated ; it fell into 
ruins, and soon was nothing more than a resort for devotees or travellers. 
The history of Egypt is, therefore, divided into three periods, each corre- 
sponding to the suzerainty of a town or a principality : — 

I. — Memphite Period, usually called the " Ancient Empire," from the 
I st to the X"' dynasty: kings of Memphite origin ruled over the whole of 
Egypt during the greater part of this epoch. 

II. — Theban Period, from the XI th to the XX th dynasty. It is divided 
into two parts by the invasion of the Shepherds (XVP 11 dynasty) : 

a. The first Theban Empire (Middle Empire), from the XI th to the 

XIV ,b dynasty. 

b. The new Theban Empire, from the XVII? to the XX th dynasty. 

II. — Saïte Period, from the XXI st to the XXX th dynasty, divided into 
two unequal parts by the Persian Conquest : 

a. The first Saïte period, from the XXI st to the XXVI th dynasty. 

b. The second Saïte period, from the XXVIII th to the XXX th dynasty. 

The Memphites had created the monarchy. The Thebans extended the 
rule of Egypt far and wide, and made of her a conquering state : for nearly 
six centuries she ruled over the Upper Nile and over Western Asia. Under 
the Saïtes she retired gradually within her natural frontiers, and from having 
been aggressive became assailed, and suffered herself to be crushed in turn 
by all the nations she had once oppressed. 1 

The monuments have as yet yielded no account of the events which tended 
to unite the country under the rule of one man; we can only surmise that the 
feudal principalities had gradually been drawn together into two groups, each 

1 The division into Ancient, Middle, and New Empire, proposed by Lepsius, has the disadvantage 
of not taking into account the influence which the removal of the seat of the dynasties exercised on 
the history of the country. The arrangement which I have here adopted was first put forward in 
the Revue critique, 1873, vol. i. pp. 82, 83. 


of which formed a separate kingdom. Heliopolis became the chief focus in 
the north, from which civilization radiated over the rich plains and the marshes 
of the Delta. Its colleges of priests had collected, condensed, and arranged 
the principal myths of the local religions ; the Ennead to which it gave con- 
ception would never have obtained the popularity which we must acknowledge 
it had, if its princes had not exercised, for at least some pericvd, an actual 
suzerainty over the neighbouring plains. 1 It was around Heliopolis that the 
kingdom of Lower Egypt was organized ; everything there bore traces of 
Heliopolitan theories — the protocol of the kings, their supposed descent from 
Eâ, and the enthusiastic worship which they offered to the sun. The Delta, 
owing to its compact and restricted area, was aptly suited for government from 
one centre; the Nile valley proper, narrow, tortuous, and stretching like a 
thin strip on either bank of the river, did not lend itself to so complete 
a unity. It, too, represented a single kingdom, having the reed JJ= and the 
lotus 2£ for its emblems ; but its component parts were more loosely united, 
its religion was less systematized, and it lacked a well-placed city to serve as 
a political and sacerdotal centre. Hermopolis contained schools of theologians 
who certainly played an important part in the development of myths and 
dogmas ; but the influence of its rulers was never widely felt. In the south, 
Siût disputed their supremacy, and Heracleopolis stopped their road to the 
north. These three cities thwarted and neutralized one another, and not one 
of them ever succeeded in obtaining a lasting authority over Upper Egypt. 
Each of the two kingdoms had its own natural advantages and its system of 
government, which gave to it a particular character, and stamped it, as it were, 
with a distinct personality down to its latest days. 2 The kingdom of Upper 
Egypt was more powerful, richer, better populated, and was governed apparently 
by more active and enterprising rulers. It is to one of the latter, Mini or 
Menés of Thinis, that tradition ascribes the honour of having fused the two 
Egypts into a single empire, and of having inaugurated the reign of the 
human dynasties. Thinis figured in the historic period as one of the least 
of Egyptian cities. It barely maintained an existence on the left bank of 
the Nile, if not on the exact spot now occupied by Girgeh, at least only a 
short distance from it. 3 The principality of the Osirian Reliquary, of which 

1 Cf. what is said of Heliopolis, its position and its ruins, on pp. 135, 136, of this volume. 

2 See, on this head, the points which M. Erman has worked out very ably in his Mgypten, 
p. 32, et seq. ; in spite, however, of the opinion which he expresses (p. 128), I believe that the 
northern kingdom received, in very early times, a political organization as strong and as complete 
as that of the southern kingdom (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 244, et seq.). 

3 The site of Thinis is not yet satisfactorily identified. It is neither at Kom-es-Sultân, as 
Mariette thought {Notice des principaux Monuments, 1864, p. 285), nor, according to the hypothesis 
of A. Schmidt, at El-Kherbeh {Die Griechischen Papyrus-Urkunden der Konigliehen Bibliothek zu 
Berlin, pp. 69-79). Brugsch has proposed to fix the site at the village of Tineh (Geogr. Inschri/ten, 


it was the metropolis, occupied the valley from one mountain range to the 
other, and gradually extended across the desert as far as the Great Theban 
Oasis. 1 Its inhabitants worshipped a sky-god, Anhûri, or rather two twin gods, 
Anhûri-Shû, who were speedily amalgamated with the solar deities and became 
a warlike personification of Râ. Anhûri-Shû, like all the other solar manifesta- 


tions, came to be associated with a goddess having the form or head of a lioness 
— a Sokhît, who took for the occasion the epithet of Mîhît, the northern one. 2 
Some of the dead from this city are buried on the other side of the Nile, 
near the modern village of Mesheikh, at the foot of the Arabian chain, 
whose steep cliffs here approach somewhat near the river : 3 the principal 

vol. i. p. 207), near Berdis, and is followed in this by Diimichen (Geschichte JEgyptens, p. 151). The 
present tendency is to identify it either with Girgeli itself, or with one of the small neighbouring 
towns — for example, Birbeh — where there are some ancient ruins (Mariette-Maspero, Monuments 
divers, text, pp. 2G, 27 ; Sayce, Gleanings from the Land of Egypt, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. xiii. 
p. 65); this was also the opinion of Champollion and of Nestor L'hôte (Eecueil de Travaux, vol. xiii. 
p. 72, Lettres écrites d'Egypte, pp. 88, 125). I may mention that, in a frequently quoted passage of 
Hellanicos (fragm. 150, edit. Muller-Didot, Fragmenta Historicorum Grxcorum, vol. i. p. 66), Zoëga 
corrects the reading TivStov ovojia into ®îv Si ol ovofia, which would once more give us the name of 
Thinis : the mention of this town as being fimtoTafulri, " situated on the river," would be a fresh 
reason for its identification with Girgeh. 

1 From the XI th dynasty, the lords of Abydos and Thinis bear officially, at the beginning of 
their inscriptions, the title of "Masters of the Oasis" (Brugsch, Reise nach der Grossen Oase el- 
Khargeh, p. 62). 

2 On Anhûri-Shû, cf. what is said on pp. 99, 101, 140, 141, of this volume. 

3 I explored this after Mariette. The majority of the tombs of the XIX th dynasty which it 
coutains have been published in part in Mariette's Monuments divers, pi. 78, aud pp. 26, 27 ; several 
others, dating back to the VI th dynasty, have been noticed by Nestor L'hôte {Recueil de Travaux, vol. 



necropolis was at some distance to the past, bear the sacred town of Abydos. 
it would appear that, at the outset, Abydos was the capital of the country, 
for the entire nome bore the same name as the city, and had adopted, for its 
symbol the representation of the reliquary in which the god reposed. In very 
early times Abydos fell into decay, and resigned its political rank to Tliinis, 
but its religious importance remained unimpaired. The city occupied a long 
and narrow strip of land between the canal and the first slopes of the Libyan 
mountains. A brick fortress defended it from the incursions of the Bedouin, 1 
and beside it the temple of the god of the dead reared its naked walls. Here 
Anhûri, having passed from life to death, was worshipped under the name 
of Khontamentît, the chief of that western region whither souls repair on 
quitting this earth. 2 It is impossible to say by what blending of doctrines 
or by what political combinations this Sun of the Night came to be identified 
with Osiris of Mendes, since the fusion dates back to a very remote antiquity ; 
it had become an established fact long before the most ancient sacred books 
were compiled. Osiris Khontamentît grew rapidly in popular favour, and his 
temple attracted annually an increasing number of pilgrims. The Great Oasis 
had been considered at first as a sort of mysterious paradise, whither the dead 
went in search of peace and happiness. It was called Uît, the Sepulchre; 
this name clung to it after it had become an actual Egyptian province, 3 and 
the remembrance of its ancient purpose survived in the minds of the people, 
so that the " cleft," the gorge in the mountain through which the doubles 
journeyed towards it, never ceased to be règarded as one of the gates of 
the other world. At the time of the New Year festivals, spirits flocked 
thither from all parts of the valley ; they there awaited the coming of 
the dying sun, in order to embark with him and enter safely the dominions 
of Khontamentît. 4 Abydos,, even before the historic period, was the only town, 
and its god the only god, whose worship, practised by all Egyptians, inspired 
them all with an equal devotion. 

Did this sort of moral conquest give rise, later on, to a belief in a 
material conquest by the princes of Thinis and Abydos, or is there an 
historical foundation for the tradition which ascribes to tbem the establish- 
ment of a single monarchy ? It is the Thinite Menés, whom the Theban 

xiii. pp. 71-72) and by Sayce (Gleanings from the Land of Egypt, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. xiii. 
pp. G2-65). 

1 It is the present Kom-es-Sultâu, where Mariette hoped to find the tomb of Osiris. 

2 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 23, 24. 

3 As late as the Persian epoch, the ancient tradition found its echo in the name "Isles of the 
Blessed " (Herod., iii. 26) which was given to the Great Oasis. A passage in the inscription describes 
the souls repairing to the Oasis of Zoszes (BuuGSCit, Reise nach der Grossen Oa'se, p. 41, and Did. 
Geogr., p. 1002), which is a part of the Great Oasis, and is generally considered as a dwelling-place ot 
the dead (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 421-427). 

* See what is said upon this subject on pp. 196-198 of this work. 


annalists pointout as the ancestor of the glorious Pharaohs of the XVIII th 
dynasty : 1 it is he also who is inscribed in the Memphite chronicles, followed 
by Manetho, at the head of their lists of human kings, and all Egypt, for 
centuries, acknowledged him as its first mortal ruler. It is true that a 
chief of Thitlis may well have borne such a name, and may have accomplished 
feats which rendered him famous ; 2 but, on closer examination, his pre- 
tensions to reality disappear, and his personality is reduced to a cipher. 
" This Menés, according to the priests, surrounded Memphis with dykes. 
For the river formerly followed the sandhills for some distance on the Libyan 
side. Menés, having dammed up the reach about a hundred stadia to the 
south of Memphis, caused the old bed to dry up, and conveyed the river 
through an artificial channel dug midway between the two mountain ranges. 
Then Menés, the first who was king, having enclosed a firm space of ground 
with dykes, there founded that town which is still called Memphis ; he then 
made a lake round it, to the north and- west, fed by the river, the city 
being bounded on the east by the Nile." 3 The history of Memphis, such 
as it can be gathered from the monuments, differs considerably from the 
tradition current in Egypt at the time of Herodotus. 4 It appears, indeed, 
that at the outset, the site on which it subsequently arose was occupied 
by a small fortress, Anbû^hazû — the white wall — which was dependent 
on Heliopolis, and in which Phtah possessed a sanctuary. After the " white 
wall " was separated from the Heliopolitan principality to form a nome by 
itself, it assumed a certain importance, and furnished, so it was said, the 
dynasties which succeeded the Thinite. Its prosperity dates only, however, 
from the time when the sovereigns, of the V th aùd VI"' dynasties fixed 
on it for their residence; one of them, Papi I., there founded for himself and 
for his "double" after him, a new town, which he called Minnôfîiû, from 
his tomb. Minnofîrû, which is the correct pronunciation and the t origin 
of Memphis, probably signified "the good refuge," the haven of the good, 

1 In the time of Seti Land Ramses II. lie heads the list of the Tabic of A by dos. Under 
Ramses II. his statue was carried in procession, preceding all the other royal statues (Champollion, 
Monuments de l'Égyptet de la Nubie, pl. cxlix.; Lkpstcs, Denhm., iii. 163). Finally, the "Royal 
Papyrus" of Turin, written in tlio timo of Ramses 1., begins the entire series of the human Piiaraohs 
with his name. 

2 He has been considered as an historical personage by nearly all Egyptologists, from Cham- 
pollion downwards; Bunsen, JEgyptens Stelle, vol. ii. p. 3S ; Lepsius, Kunigabuch, pp. 19, 20; E. de 
Rouge, Recherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties de Manéthon, 
]>. 12, et seq. ; Brugsch, Geschichte JEgyptens, p. 41, et seq. ; Wiedemann, AJgyptisehe Geschichte, 
p. 163, et seq.; Ed. Meyeiî, Geschichte JEgyptens, p. 49, et seq. Krall has shown the artificial 
character of the lists which mention him {Composition des Manethonischen Geschichtswerkes, pp. 
16-18); Erman was tho first to. treat him as a semi-mythical personage (Erman, Historische 
Nachlese, in the Zeitschrift, vol. xxx. p. 46). 

3 Herod., ii. 99. The dyke supposed to have been made by Menés is evidently that of Qosheîsh, 
which now protects the province of Gîzeh, aud regulates the inundation in its neighbourhood. 

* It has bien most cleverly disentangled by Erman, JEgypten, pp. 240-244. 



the burying-place where the blessed dead came to rest beside Osiris. 1 The 
people soon forgot the true interpretation, or probably it did not fall in 
with their taste for romantic tales. They were rather disposed, as a rule, to 
discover in the beginnings of history individuals from whom the countries 
or cities with which they were familiar took their names : if no tradition 
supplied them with this, they did not experience any scruple in inventing 
one. The Egyptians of the time of the Ptolemies, who were guided in 
their philological speculations by the pronunciation in vogue around them, 
attributed the patronship of their city to a Princess Memphis, a daughter 
of its founder, the fabulous Uchoreus ; 2 those of preceding ages before 
the name had become altered, thought to find in Minnofîrû a " Mini Nofir," 
or " Menés the Good," the reputed founder of the capital of the Delta. Menés 
the Good, divested of his epithet, is none other than Menés, the first king 
of all Egypt, and he owes his existence to a popular attempt at etymology. 3 
The legend which identifies the establishment of the kingdom with the 
construction of the city, must have originated at a time whem Memphis was 
still the residence of the kings and the seat of government, at latest about 
the end of the Memphite period. It must have been an old tradition at 
the time of the Theban dynasties, since they admitted unhesitatingly the 
authenticity of the statements which ascribed to the northern city so marked 
a superiority over their own country. When the hero was once created and 
firmly established in his position, there was little difficulty in inventing a story 
about him, which would portray him as a paragon and an ideal sovereign. 
He was represented in turn as architect, warrior, and statesman ; he had 
founded Memphis, he had begun the temple of Phtah, 4 written laws and 
regulated the worship of the gods, 5 particularly that of Hâpis, 6 and he had 
conducted expeditions against the Libyans. 7 When he lost his only son 
in the flower of his age, the people improvised a hymn of mourning to 
console him — the "Maneros" — both the words and the tune of which were 
handed down from generation to generation. 8 He did not, moreover, disdain 

1 The translation made by the Greeks, 'âp/xos àyaQwv, exactly corresponds to the ancient orthography 
Min-nofîrû, which has become Min-nofir, Minnûfi, the " Haven of the Good," by dropping the plural ter- 
mination and then the final r (De Iside et Osiride, § 20, Pabthey's edition, p. 35). The other translation, 
■tâ<pos 'OaïpiSoî, given by a Greek author, would derive Memphis from Ma-omphis, M-omphis, in which 
the name Ûnnofir, given to Osiris, takes the common form"Oyu<f>is : t5 h'ïrepov ovoua tov 8eov rbv "On<ptv 

ô 'Epixaiés <pt]atv SîjAoûf êpixnvevénevov (De Iside et Osiride, § 42, Pabthey's edition, pp. 74, 75). 

2 Diodokus Siculus, i. 50, 51 ; the legend preserved by this historian was of Theban origin, 
Uchoreus, the father of the eponymous goddess of Memphis, being the founder of Thebes. 

* One monument (Erman, Historische Nachlese, in the Zeitsclrift, vol. xxx. pp. 43-4G) associates 
Mini, called Minna or Menna, Mrjfâs, with Phtah and Eamses II. : the eponymous hero became 
a god, and Mini is here treated as Ûsirtasen III. was at Semueh, or as Amenôthes III. at Soleb. 

4 Herod., ii. 99 ; cf. Wiedemann, Htrodots Zweites Buch, pp. 396-398. 

5 Diodoeus Sicumjs, i. 94; he perhaps only promulgated the laws originally drawn up by Thot. 

6 .ZElian, Hist. Animalium, xi. 10 ; in Manetho, Kakôù instituted the worship of Hâpis, cf. p. 238. 
' Manetho, in Mulleb-Didot, Fragmenta Historicorum Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 539, 540. 

« Hebod., ii. 79. According to the De Iside et Osiride, § 17 (Pabthey's edition, p. 28), the origin of 



the luxuries of the table, for he invented the art of serving a dinner, and 
the mode of eating it in a reclining posture. 1 One day, while hunting, 
his dogs, excited by something or other, fell upon him to devour him. He 
escaped with difficulty, and, pursued by them, fled to the shore of Lake 
Mceris, and was there brought to bay ; he was on the point of succumbing 

on his back 
side. 3 In gra- 
called Croco- 
god the croco- 

to them, when a crocodile took him 
and carried him across to the other 
titude he built a new town, which lie 
dilopolis, and assigned to it for its 
dile which had saved him ; he then erected close to it the famous labyrinth 
and a pyramid for his tomb. 4 Other traditions show him in a less favourable 
light. They accuse him of having, by horrible crimes, excited against him 
the anger of the gods, and allege that after a reign of sixty to sixty-two years, 
he was killed by a hippopotamus which came forth from the Nile. 5 They 
also related that the Saïte Tafnakhti, returning from an expedition against 
the Arabs, during which he had been obliged to renounce the pomp and 
luxuries of royal life, had solemnly cursed him, and had caused his impre- 
cations to be inscribed upon a stele set up in the temple of Amon at Thebes. 6 

the Maneros is traced back to Isis lamenting the death of Osiris. The questions raised by this hymn have 
been discussed by two Egyptologists — Brugsch, Die Adoniglclage und das Linoslied, 1852 ; and Lautii, 
Ueber den JEgyptischen Maneros (in the Sitzungsberichte. of the Academy of Munich, 1869, pp. 163-194). 

1 Didokus Siculus, i. 45 ; cf. De Iside et Osiride, § 8 (Parthey's edition, pp. 12, 13). 

* Drawn by Faucher-Gudin after Prisse d'Avennes, Monuments Égyptiens, pl. xlvii. 2, and pp. 8, 9. 
The gold medallions engraved with the name of Menés are ancient, and perhaps go back to the XX"' 
dynasty : the setting is entirely modern, with the exception of the three oblong pendants of cornelian. 

z This is an episode from the legend of Osiris : at Philse, in the little building of the Antonines, 
may be seen a representation of a crocodile crossing the Nile, carrying on his back the mummy of 
the god. The same episode is also found in the tale of Onûs el-Ujûd and of Uard Pil-Ikmâm, where 
the crocodile leads the hero to his beautiful prisoner in the Island of Phila}. Ebers, l'Égypte, 
French trans., vol. ii. pp. 415, 41G, has shown how this episode in the Arab story must have been 
inspired by the bas-relief at Philse and by the scene which it portrays : the temple is still called 
" Kasr," and the island "Geziret Onûs el-Ujûd." 

4 Diod. Sioulus, i. 89 ; several commentators, without any reason, would transfer this legend to 
a king of the XII th dynasty, Amenemhâît III. We have no cause to suspect that Diodorus, or the 
historian from whom he took his information, did not copy correctly a romance of which Menés was 
the hero (Unger, Manetko, pp. 82, 130, 131) : if traditions relating to other kings have become mixed 
up with this one, it need not astonish us, since we know this is of frequent occurrence in the com- 
position of Egyptian tales. 

5 Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Fragmenta Hist. Grasc., vol. ii. pp. 539, 540. In popular romances, 
this was the usual end of criminals of every kind (Maspero, Les Contes populaires de l'Égypte ancienne, 
2nd edit., pp. 59-62) ; we shall see that another king, Akhthoes the founder of the IX th dynasty, 
after committing horrible misdeeds, was killed, in the same way as Menés, by a hippopotamus. 

6 De Iside it Osiride, § 8 (Parthey's edition, pp. 12, 13) ; Diodorus, i. 45; Alexis, in Athen^us, 
x. p. 418 e. 



Nevertheless, in the memory that Egypt preserved of its first Pharaoh, the 
good outweighed the evil. He was worshipped in Memphis side by side 
with Phtah and Ramses II. ; his name figured at the head of the royal 
lists, and his cult continued till the time of the Ptolemies. 

His immediate successors have only a semblance of reality, such as he had. 
The lists give the order of succession, it is true, with the years of their reigns 
almost to a day, sometimes the length of their lives, 1 but we may well ask 
whence the chroniclers procured so much precise information. They were in the 
same position as ourselves with regard to these ancient kings : they knew them 
by a tradition of a later age, by a fragment of papyrus fortuitously preserved 
in a temple, by accidentally coming across some monument bearing their 
name, and were reduced, as we are, to put together the few facts which 
they possessed, or to supply such as were wanting by conjectures, often in 
a very improbable manner. It is quite possible that they were able to gather 
from the memory of the past, the names of those individuals of which they 
made up the first two Thinite dynasties. The forms of these names are 
curt and rugged, and indicative of a rude and savage state, harmonizing 
with the semi-barbaric period to which they are relegated : — Ati the Wrestler, 
Teti the Runner, Qenqoni the Crusher, — are suitable rulers for a people, the 
first duty of whose chief was to lead his followers into battle, and to strike 
harder than any other man in the thickest of the fight. 2 The inscriptions 
supply us with proofs that some of these princes lived and reigned: — Sondi, 
who is classed in the II nd dynasty, received a continuous worship towards the 
end of the III rd dynasty. 3 But did all those who preceded him, and those 
who followed him, exist as he did ? and if they existed, do the order and 
relation assigned to them agree with the actual truth ? The different lists do 

1 This is the case in the " Canon Eoyal " at Turin, where the length of the reign and life of 
nearly every sovereign is given in years, months, and days. 

- The Egyptians were accustomed to explain the meaning of the names of their kings to strangers, 
and the Canon of Eratosthenes has preserved several of their derivations, of which a certain number, 
as, for instance, that of Menés from alévios, the " lasting," are tolerably correct. M. Krall {Die Compo- 
sition und die Schicksale des Manethonischen Geschichtswerlces^p. 16-19) is, to my knowledge, the only 
Egyptologist who has attempted to glean from the meaning of these names indications of the methods 
by which the national historians of Egypt endeavoured to make up the lists of the earliest dynasties. 

3 His priest Shiri is known to us by a stele in the form of a door, in the Gîzeh Museum 
{Mariette, Notice des principaux Monuments, 1876, p. 296, No. 996; Maspebo, Guide du visiteur, 
pp. 31, 32, 213, No. 993) ; the son and grandson of Shiri, Ankaf and Aasen, are mentioned on a 
monument in the museum at Aix, exercising the same priestly office as Shiri (Gibeet-Dévèbia, Le 
Musée d'Aix, pp. 7, 8, Nos. 1, 2 ; cf. Wiedemann, On a monument of the First Dynasties, in the Pro- 
ceedings of the Biblical Archxological Society, vol. ix. pp. 180, 181). A part of Shiri's monument is at 
Oxford {Marmora Oxoniensia, 2nd part, pl. i. ; Lepsius, Auswahl, pi. ix.), another part at Florence 
(Schiapakelli, Museo Arclteologico di Firenze, pp. 230-232). A notice of his tomb occurs in 
Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 92, et seep A Saïte bronze, which passed from the Posno Collection 
(Catalogue, Paris, 1883, No. 53, p. 14) into the possession of the Berlin Museum, is supposed to 
represent Sondi. The worship of this prince lasted down to, or was restored under, the Ptolemies 
{E. de Rocgé, Recherches sur les monuments, p. 31). 



not contain the same names in the same positions ; certain Pharaohs are added 
or suppressed without appreciable reason. Where Manetho inscribes Kenkenes 
and Ouenephes, the tables of 
the time of Seti I. give us Ati 
and Ata; Manetho reckons 
ninekings to their 1 ' 1 dynasty, 
while they register only five. 1 
The monuments, indeed, 
show us that Egypt in the 
past obeyed princes whom 
her annalists were unable to 
classify: for instance, they 
associate with Sondi a Pir- 
senû, who is not mentioned in 
the annals. We must, there- 
fore, take the record of all 
this opening period of his- 
tory for what it is — namely, 
a system invented at a much 
later date, by means of various 
artifices and combinations — 
to be partially accepted in de- 
fault of a better, but without 
according to it that exces- 
sive confidence which it has 
hitherto received. The two 
Thinite dynasties, in direct 
descent from the fabulous 
Menés, furnish, like this 
hero himself, only a tissue 
of romantic tales and mira- 
culous legends in the place 
of history. A double-headed stork, which had appeared in the first year 


1 The impossibility of reconciling the names of the Greek with those of the Pharaonic lists baa 
been admitted by most of the savants who have discussed the matter, viz. Mariette {La Nouvelle Table 
d'Abydos, p. 5, et seq.), E. de Kouge' {Recherches sur les monuments, p. 18, et seq.), Lieblein 
{Recherches sur la Chronologie Égyptienne, p. 12, et seq.), Wiedemann {JEgyptische Geschichte, pp. 162, 
163, 166, 167, etc.); most of them explain the differences by the supposition that, in many cases, 
one of the lists gives the cartouche name, and the other the cartouche prenomen of the same 

* Drawn by Boudier from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey, taken from the stele 1027 iu the 
Gîzeh Museum (Maspero, Guide du Visiteur au MustTe de Boidaq, pp. 31, 32, 213). 



of Teti, son of Menés, had foreshadowed to Egypt a long prosperity, 1 but a 
famine under Ouenephes, 2 and a terrible plague under Semempses, had depopu- 
lated the country : 3 the laws had been relaxed, great crimes had been com- 
mitted, and revolts had broken out. During the reign of Boêthos, a gulf 
had opened near Bubastis, and swallowed up many people, 4 then the Nile 
bad flowed with honey for fifteen days in the time of Nephercheres, 5 and 
Sesochris was supposed to have been a giant in stature. 6 A few details about 
royal edifices were mixed up with these prodigies. Teti had laid the foundation 
of the great palace of Memphis, 7 Ouenephes had built the pyramids of Ko-komè 
near Saqqâra. 8 Several of the ancient Pharaohs had published books on 
theology, or had written treatises on anatomy and medicine ; 9 several had made 
laws which lasted down to the beginning of the Christian era. One of them 
was called Kakôû, the male of males, or the bull of bulls. They explained his 
name by the statement that he had concerned himself about the sacred animals ; 
he had proclaimed as gods, Hâpis of Memphis, Mnevis of Heliopolis, and the 
goat of Mendes. 10 After him, Binôthris had conferred the right of succession 
upon all the women of the blood-royal. 11 The accession of the III rd dynasty, 
a Memphite one according to Manetho, did not at first change the miraculous 
character of this history. The Libyans had revolted against Necherophes, and 
the two armies were encamped before each other, when one night the disk of 
the moon became immeasurably enlarged, to the great alarm of the rebels, 
who recognized in this phenomenon a sign of the anger of heaven, and yielded 
without fighting. 12 Tosorthros, the successor of Necherophes, brought the 
hieroglyphs and the art of stone- cutting to perfection. He composed, as 
Teti did, books of medicine, a fact which caused him to be identified with the 

1 Ariox, frag. 11, in Muller-Didot, Fragmenta Historicorum Grxcorum, vol. iii. p. 512. .flîlian 
{Hist. Anim., xi. 40), who lias transmitted this fragment to us, calls the son of Menés, Oinis, Kara rbv 
OïvtSa, which Bunsen, without reason, corrects into /car' 'ArwOiSa (JEgyptens Stelle, vol. ii. p. 46, 
note 15). 

2 Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 539, 540. 

3 Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 539, 540. 
* Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 542, 543. 

5 Manetho, iu Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 542, 543. John of Antioch, on 
whose authority is not known, places this miracle under Binôthris (Muller-Didot, op. cit., vol. iv. 
p. 539). 

Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 542, 543. 

7 Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 539, 540. 

8 Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 539, 540. 

Teti wrote books on anatomy (Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 
539, 540), and a recipe for causing the hair to grow, is ascribed to his mother, Queen Shishît (Ebers 
Papyrus, pl. lxvi. 1. 5). Tosorthros, of the IIP 11 dynasty, was said to have composed a treatise on 
medicine (Manetho, in Muller-Didot, op. cit., vol. ii. p. 514). 

10 Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 542,543: cf. Krall, Die Com- 
position und ScMclisale des Manetlwnisclien Geschichtswerkes, p. 4. 

11 Manetho, iu Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 542, 543. 

12 Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Frag. Hist. Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 544, 545- 


healing god Iinhotpû. 1 The priests relatéd these things seriously, and the 
Greek writers took them down from their lips with the respect which they 
offered to everything emanating from the wise men of Egypt. 

What they related of the human kings was not more detailed, as we see, than 
their accounts of the gods. 
Whether the legends dealt 
with deities or kings, all 
that we know took its origin, 
not in popular imagination, 
but in sacerdotal dogma : 
they were invented long after 
the times they dealt with, 
in the recesses of the tem- 
ples, with an intention and 
a method of which we are 
enabled to detect flagrant 
instances on the monuments. 2 
Towards the middle of the 
third century before our era, 
the Greek troops stationed 
on the southern frontier, in 
the forts at the first cataract, 
developed a particular vene- 
ration for Lsis of Philae. 
Their devotion spread to the 
superior officers who came to 
inspect them, then to the 
whole population of the The- 
baid, and finally reached the 
court of the Macedonian 
kings. The latter, carried 

away by force of example, gave every encouragement to a movement which 
attracted worshippers to a common sanctuary, and united in one cult the two races 
over which they ruled. They pulled down the meagre building of the Saïte 


1 Manetho, in Muller-Didot, Fragmenta Historicorum Grxc, vol. ii. pp. 514, 545. 

* On pp. 169-171 of this history, I have given a résume" of the information possessed, or sup- 
posed to be possessed, by the chronicler of the legend of Aît-nobsû, concerning the benefits 
which Eâ, Shu, and Sibu had conferred upon the sanctuary of the nome during their terrestrial 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of tho bas-reliefs of the temple of Khnûniû, at Elephantine 
^Description de l'Égypte, Antiquités, vol. i. pl. 36, 1). This bas-relief is now destroyed. 



period which had hitherto sufficed for the worship of Isis, constructed at great 
cost the temple which still remains almost intact, and assigned to it considerable 
possessions in Nubia, which, in addition to gifts from private individuals, made 
the goddess the richest landowner in Southern Egypt. Khnûmû and his two 
wives, Anûkit and Satîfc, who, before Isis, had been the undisputed 
suzerains of the cataract, perceived with jealousy their neighbour's 
prosperity : the civil wars and invasions of the centuries imme- 
diately preceding had ruined their temples, and their poverty con- 
trasted painfully with the riches of the new-comer. The priests 
resolved to lay this sad state of affairs before King Ptolemy, to 
represent to him the services which they had rendered and still 
continued to render to Egypt, and above all to remind him of the 
generosity of the ancient Pharaohs, whose example, owing to the 
poverty of the times, the recent Pharaohs had been unable to follow. 
Doubtless authentic documents were wanting in their archives to 
support their pretensions : they therefore inscribed upon a rock, in 
the island of Sehel, a long inscription which they attributed to 
Zosiri of the III rd dynasty. This sovereign had left behind him 
a vague reputation for greatness. As early as the XII th dynasty 
Ûsirtasen III. had claimed him as "his father" — his ancestor — 
and had erected a statue to him ; 1 the priests knew that, by 
invoking him, they had a chance of obtaining a hearing. The 
inscription which they fabricated, set forth that in the eighteenth year 
of Zosiri's reign he had sent to Madîr, lord of Elephantine, a message 
couched in these terms : " I am overcome with sorrow for the throne, 
and for those who reside in the palace, and my heart is afflicted and 
suffers greatly because the Nile has not risen in my time, for the space of 
eight years. Corn is scarce, there is a lack of herbage, and nothing is 
left to eat: when any one calls upon his neighbours for help, they take 
pains not to go. The child weeps, the young man is uneasy, the hearts 
of the old men are in despair, their limbs are bent, they crouch on the 
earth, they fold their hands ; the courtiers have no further resources ; the 
shops formerly furnished with rich wares are now filled only with air, 
all that was in them has disappeared. My spirit also, mindful of the 
beginning of things, seeks to call upon the Saviour who was here where 
I am, during the centuries of the gods, upon Thot-Ibis, that great 
wise one, upon Imhotpû, son of Phtah of Memphis. Where is the place 

1 The mutilated base of lb s statue is now preserved in the Egyptinn Museum at Berlin (Erman. 
Verzeichniss der JEgyptischen Altertiimer und Gipsabgwse, p. 34, No. 94' 1 ). 





■ in which the Nile is born? 

Who is the god or godde s s 
concealed there? What is 
his likeness?" The lord of Ele- 
phantine brought his reply in person. He 
described to the king, who was evidently 
ignorant of it, the situation of the island 
and the rocks of the cataract, the pheno- 
mena of the inundation, the gods who 
presided over it, and who alone could 
relieve Egypt from her disastrous plight. 
Zosiri repaired to the temple of the prin- 
cipality and offered the prescribed sacrifices; the god arose, opened his 
eyes, panted and cried aloud, " I am Khnûmû who created thee ! " and 
promised him a speedy return of a high Nile and the cessation of the 
famine. Pharaoh was touched by the benevolence which his divine father 
had shown him ; he forthwith made a decree by which he ceded to the 
temple all his rights of suzerainty over the neighbouring nomes within 
a radius of twenty miles. Henceforward the entire population, tillers 
and vinedressers, fishermen and hunters, had to yield the tithe of their 
incomes to the priests ; the quarries could not be worked without the 
consent of Khnûmû, and the payment of a suitable indemnity into his 
coffers, and finally, all metals and precious woods shipped thence for Egypt 
had to submit to a toll on behalf of the temple. 2 Did the Ptolemies 
admit the claims which the local priests attempted to deduce from this 

1 Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Dévèria (1864) ; in the foreground, the tomb of Ti. 

2 This is the inscription discovered at Sehêl by Mr. Wilbour in 1890, and published by Brugsch, 
Die Biblischen sieben Jahre der Hunger snoth ; and by Pleyte, Sehenldngsoorlwnde van Seliéle uit het 
lS de Jaar van Koning Tosertasis (taken from the Beport of the Academy of Sciences at Amsterdam, 
3rd series, vol. viii.); cf. Maspero, in the Revue Critique, 1891, vol. ii. p. 149, et seq. The correct 
reading of the royal name was pointed out, almost immediately after the discovery, by Steindorff, iD 
the Zeitschri/t, vol. sxviii. pp. Ill, 112. 




romantic tale ? and did the god regain possession of the domains and dues 
which they declared had been his right ? The stele shows us with what ease 
the scribes could forge official documents, when the exigencies of daily life forced 
the necessity upon them ; it teaches us at the same time how that fabulous 
chronicle was elaborated, whose remains have been preserved for us by classical 
writers. Every prodigy, every fact related by Manetho, was taken from some 
document analogous to the supposed inscription of Zosiri. 1 

The real history of the early centuries, therefore, eludes our researches, 
and no contemporary record traces for us those vicissitudes which Egypt 
passed through before being consolidated into a single kingdom, under the 
rule of one man. Many names, apparently of powerful and illustrious princes, 
had survived in the memory of the people; these were collected, classified, 
and grouped in a regular manner into dynasties, but the people were ignorant 
of any exact facts connected with the names, and the historians, on their 
own account, were reduced to collect apocryphal traditions for their sacred 
archives. The monuments of these remote ages, however, cannot have 
entirely disappeared : they exist in places where we have not as yet thought 
of applying the pick, and chance excavations will some day most certainly 
bring them to light. The few which we do possess barely go back beyond 
the III rd dynasty : namely, the hypogeum of Shiri, priest of Sondi and 
Pirsenû ; 2 possibly the tomb of Khûîthotpû at Saqqâra ; 3 the Great Sphinx 
of Gizeh ; a short inscription on the rocks of the Wady Maghâra, which 
represents Zosiri (the same king of whom the" priests of Khnûmû in the Greek 
period made a precedent) working the turquoise or copper mines of Sinai ; 4 
and finally the Step-Pyramid where this same Pharaoh rests. 5 It forms a 

1 The legend of the yawning gulf at Bubastis must be connected with the gifts supposed to have 
been offered by King Boêthos to the temple of that town, to repair the losses sustained by the 
goddess on that occasion ; the legend of the pestilence and famine is traceable to some relief given 
by a local god, and for which Semempses and Ûenephes might have shown their gratitude in the 
same way as Zosiri. The tradition of the successive restorations of Denderah (Dumichen, Bauur- 
Jcunde der Tempélanlagen von Dendera, pi. xvi. a-b, and pp. 15, 18, 19) accounts for the constructions 
attributed to Teti I. and to Tosorthros; finally, the pretended discoveries of sacred books, dealt 
with elsewhere (pp. 224, 225), show how Manetho was enabled to attribute to his Pharaohs the 
authorship of works on medicine or theology. 

2 Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 92-94, and the fragments mentioned above, 
p. 236. 

3 Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 68-70. Mariette ascribes the construction of 
the tomb of Khabiûsokari to the 1 st dynasty (p. 73) ; 1 am inclined to think it is not earlier than 
the III rd . 

4 This text, in which only the Horus-name is given to the king, was copied by Be'nédite four 
years ago ; it is the most ancient of all the Egyptian historical inscriptions. 

5 The stele of Sehél has enabled us to verify the fact that the preamble [a string of titles] to the 
inscription of the king, buried in the Step-Pyramid, is identical with that of King Zosiri : it was, 
therefore, Zosiri who constructed, or arranged for the construction of this monument as his tomb 
(Brugsch, Der Konig Diser, in the Zeitschrift, vol. xxviii. pp. 110, 111). The Step-Pyramid of 
Saqqâra was opened in 1819, at the expense of the Prussian General Minutoli, who was the first to 



rectangular mass, incorrectly orientated, with a variation from the true north 
of 4° 35', 393 ft. 8 in. long from east to west, and 352 ft. deep, with a 
height of 159 ft. 9 in. It is composed of six cubes, with sloping sides, 
each being about 13 ft. less in width than the one below it; that nearest 
to the ground measures 37 ft. 8 in. in height, and the uppermost one 

■ m il» iàiâàiiiiiââiii*iâiiHMiâiiÉiii«\iài 

i*jljifJtJj^ ~-j • ■ Jiii4i****4 1*4 i * lu,»*,' 


•' ij||itfl ûiH r i d 1 1 i ta rfe-s iâiijjiii 4'id«^kîdf icli|H 

1 15» 



29 ft. 2 in. It was entirely constructed of limestone from the neighbouring 
mountains. The blocks are small, and badly cut, the stone courses being 
concave to offer a better resistance to downward thrust and to shocks 
of earthquake. When breaches in the masonry are examined, it can be 
seen that the external surface of the steps has, as it were, a double stone 

give a brief description of the interior, illustrated by plans and drawings (Beise zum Tempel des 
Jupiter Ammon, pp. 295-299, and Atlas, pis. xxvi.-xxviii.). 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the coloured sketch by Segato. M. Stern (Die Bandbemer- 
kungen zu dem manethonischen Kunigseanon, in the Zeitschrift, 1885, p. 90, note 1) attributes the 
decoration of glazed pottery to the XXVI th dynasty, which opinion is shared by Borchardt, Die ThUr 
aus der Stufenpyramide bei Salcltara (in the Zeitschrift, v. xxx. pp. 83-87). The yellow and green 
glazed tiles bearing the cartouche of Papi I., show that the Egyptians of the Memphite dynasties 
used glazed facings at that early date ; we may, therefore, believe, if the tiles of the vault of Zosiri 
are really of the Sa'ite period, that they replaced a decoration of the same kind, which belonged to 
the time of its construction, and of which some fragments still exist among the tiles of more recent 
date. The chamber has been drawn and reproduced in black and white by Minutoli (Reise zum 
Tempel des Jupiter Ammon, pi. xxviii.), and in colour by Segato in Valeriani, Nuova lllustrazione 
istorico-monumentale del Basso e delV Alto Egitto, pl. C; cf. Perrot-Chipiez, Histoire de l'Art, 
vol. i. pp. 823, 824. 



facing, each facing being carefully dressed. The body of the pyramid is 
solid, the chambers being cut in the rock beneath. These chambers 
have been often enlarged, restored, and reworked in the course of centuries, 
and the passages which connect them form a perfect labyrinth into which 
it is dangerous to venture without a guide. The columned porch, the galleries 
and halls, all lead to a sort of enormous shaft, at the bottom of which the 
architect had contrived a hiding-place, destined, no doubt, to contain the 
more precious objects of the funerary furniture. Until the beginning of this 
century, the vault had preserved its original lining of glazed pottery. Three 
quarters of the wall surface were covered with green tiles, oblong and 
lightly convex on the outer side, but flat on the inner: a square pro- 
jection pierced with a hole, served to fix them at the back in a horizontal 
line by means of flexible wooden rods. The three bands which frame one 
of the doors are inscribed with the titles of the Pharaoh: the hiero- 
glyphs are raised in either blue, red, green, or yellow, on a fawn-coloured 
ground. The towns, palaces, temples, all the buildings which princes and 
kings had constructed to be witnesses of their power or piety to future 
generations, have, in the course of ages, disappeared under the tramplings and 
before the triumphal blasts of many invading hosts : the pyramid alone has 
survived, and the most ancient of the historic monuments of Egypt is a 



The cemeteries of Gizeh and Saqqûra : the Great Sphinx ; the mastabas, their chapel and 
its decoration, the statues of the double, the sepulchral vault — Importance of the uvdl-paintings 
and texts of the mastabas in determining the history of the Memphitc dynasties. 

The king and the royal family — Double nature and titles of the sovereign : his Horus- 
names, and the progressive formation of the Pharaonic Protocol — Royal etiquette an actual 
divine worship; the insignia and prophetic statues of Pharaoh, Pharaoh the mediator 
between the gods and his subjects — Pharaoh in family life; his amusements, his occupa- 
tions, his cares — His harem: the women, the queen, her origin, her duties to the king — His 
children : their position in the State ; rivalry among them during the old age and at the 
death of their father ; succession to the throne, consequent revolutions. 

The royal city : the palace and its occxipants — The royal household and its officers : Pharaoh's 
jesters, dwarfs, and magicians — The royal domain and the slaves, the treasury and the 
establishments which provided for its service : the buildings and places for the receipt of 
taxes — The scribe, his education, his chances of promotion : the career of Amten, his successive 
offices, the value of his personal property at his death. 

( 24G ) 

Egyptian feudalism: the status of the lords, their rights, their amusements, their 
obligations to the sovereign — The influence of the gods ; gifts to the temples, and possessions in 
mortmain ; the priesthood, its hierarchy, and the method of recruiting its ranks — Tlie military : 
foreign mercenaries ; native militia, their privileges, their training. 

The people of the towns — The slaves, men without a master — Workmen and artisans; 
corporations: misery of handicraftsmen — Aspect of the towns: houses, furniture, women in 
family life — Festivals : periodic markets, bazaars : commerce by barter, the weighing of 
precious metals. 

The country people — The villages ; serfs, free peasantry — Rural domains ; the survey, 
tnxes ; the bastinado, the corvée — Administration of justice, the relations between peasants 
and their lords; misery of the peasantry; their resignation and natural cheerfulness ; th<eir 
improvidence ; their indifference to political revolutions. 




The king, the queen, and the royal princes — Administration under the Pharaohs — Feudalism and 
the Egyptian priesthood, the military — The citizens and country people. 

r<N> ~p ET WEEN the Fayûm and the apex of the Delta, the 
Lybian range expands and forms a vast and slightly 
undulating table-land, which runs parallel to the Nile for 
nearly thirty leagues. The Great Sphinx Harmakhis has 
mounted guard over its northern extremity ever since 
the time of the Followers of Horus. Hewn out of the 
solid rock at the extreme margin of the mountain- 
plateau, he seems to raise his head in order that he 
may be the first to behold across the valley the 
rising of his father the Sun. Only the general out- 
line of the lion can now be traced in his weather- 
worn body. The lower portion of the head-dress 
> has fallen, so that the neck appears too slender to 
support the weight of the head. The cannon-shot of 
the fanatical Mamelukes has injured both the nose 
and beard, and the red colouring which gave animation to his features 
has now almost entirely disappeared. But in spite of this, even in its 

1 Drawn by Boudier, from La Description de l'Égypte, A., vol. v. pi. 7. The vignette, which is 
also by Boudier, represents a man bewailing the dead, in the attitude adopted at funerals by 


decay, it still bears a commanding expression of strength and dignity. 
The eyes look into the far-off distance with an intensity of deep thought, 
the lips still smile, the whole face is pervaded with calmness and power. 
The art that could conceive and hew this gigantic statue out of the mountain- 
side, was an art in its maturity, master of itself and sure of its effects. 
How many centuries were needed to bring it to this degree of development 
and perfection! In later times, a chapel of alabaster and rose granite was 
erected alongside the god; temples were built here and there in the more 
accessible places, and round these were grouped the tombs of the whole 


country. The bodies of the common people, usually naked and uncoffined, 
were thrust under the sand, at a depth of barely three feet from the surface. 
Those of a better class rested in mean rectangular chambers, hastily built of 
yellow bricks, and roofed with pointed vaulting. No ornaments or treasures 
gladdened the deceased in his miserable resting-place ; a few vessels, however, 
of coarse pottery contained the provisions left to nourish him during the 
period of his second existence. 2 

Some of the wealthy class had their tombs cut out of the mountain- 
side ; but the majority preferred an isolated tomb, a " mastaba," 3 comprising 
a chapel above ground, a shaft, and some subterranean vaults. From a 

professional mourners of both sexes ; the right fist resting on the ground, while the left hand 
scatters on the hair the dust which he has just gathered up. The statue is in the Gizeh Museum 
(Mariette, Album photographique du musée de Boulaq, pl. 20). 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Lepsius (Denkm., ii. 26). The corner-stone at the 
top of the mastaba, at the extreme left of the hieroglyphic frieze, had been loosened and thrown to 
the ground by some explorer ; the artist has restored it to its original position. 

2 Mariette, Sur les tombes de l'Ancien Empire que l'on trouve à Saqqâra, pp. 2, 3 (Rev. Arch., 
2nd series, vol. xix. pp. 8, 9), and Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 17, 18. 

3 "The Arabie word 'mastaba,' plur. 'masatib,' denotes the stone bench or platform seen in the 
streets of Egyptian towns in front of each shop. A carpet is spread on the * mastaba,' and the 
customer sits upon it to transact his business, usually side by 6ide with the seller. In the necropolis 
of Saqqâra, there is a temple of gigantic proportions in the shape of a ' mastaba.' The inhabitants 
of the neighbourhood call it ' Mastabat-el-Faràoun,' the seat of Pharaoh, in the belief that anciently 
one of the Pharaohs sat there to dispense justice. The Memphite tombs of the Ancient Empire, 
which thickly cover the Saqqâra plateau, are more or less miniature copies of the ' Mastabat-el- 


distance these chapels have the appearance of truncated pyramids, varying 
in size according to the fortune or taste of the owner ; there are some which 
measure 30 to 40 ft. in height, with a façade 160 ft. loug, and a depth 
from back to front of some SO ft., while others attain only a height of some 
10 ft. upon a base of 16 ft. square. 1 The walls slope uniformly towards one 
another, and usually have a smooth surface ; sometimes, however, their courses 


are set back one above the other almost like steps. The brick mastabas 
were carefully cemented externally, and the layers bound together internally 
by fine sand poured into the interstices. Stone mastabas, on the contrary, 
present a regularity in the decoration of their facings alone ; in nine cases 
out of ten the core is built of rough stone blocks, rudely cut into squares, 
cemented with gravel and dried mud, or thrown together pell-mell without 
mortar of any kind. The whole building should have been orientated 
according to rule, the four sides to the four cardinal points, the greatest 
axis directed north and south; but the masons seldom troubled themselves 

Farâoun.' Hence the name of mastabas, which has always been given to this kind of tomb, in 
the necropolis of Saqqâra" (Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 22, 23). 

1 The mastaba of Sabû is 175 ft. 9 in. long, by about 87 ft. 9 in. deep, but two of its sides have 
lost their facing (Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 143) ; that of Kâuimâît measures 171 ft. 3 in. by 
84 ft. 6 in. on the south front, and 100 ft. on the north front (id., p. 222). On the other hand, the 
mastaba of Papu is only 19 ft. 4 in. by 29 ft. long (id., p. 391), and that of Khâbiûphtah (id., p. 294) 
42 ft. 4 in. by 21 ft. 8 in. 

2 Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey, taken in the course of the 
excavations begun in 18S6, with the funds furnished by a public subscription opened by the 
Journal des Débats. 



to find the true north, and the orientation is usually incorrect. 1 The doors 
face east, sometimes north or south, but never west. One of these is but 
the semblance of a door, a high narrow niche, contrived so as to face east, 

and decorated with grooves 
framing a carefully walled- 
up entrance ; this was for 
the use of the dead, and it 
was believed that the ghost 
entered or left it at will. 
The door for the use of 
the living, sometimes pre- 
ceded by a portico, was 
almost always characterized 
by great simplicity. Over 
it is a cylindrical tym- 
panum, or a smooth flag- 
stone, bearing sometimes 
merely the name of the 
dead person, sometimes his 
titles and descent, some- 


times a prayer for his wel- 
fare, and an enumeration of the days during which he was entitled to receive 
the worship due to ancestors. They invoked on his behalf, and almost 
always precisely in the same words, the " Great God," the Osiris of Mendes, 
or else Anubis, dwelling in the Divine Palace, 3 that burial might be 
granted to him in Amentît, the land of the West, the very great and 
very good, to him the vassal of the Great God; that he might walk in 
the ways in which it is good to walk, he the vassal of the Great God ; that 
he might have offerings of bread, cakes, and drink, at the New Year's Feast, 
at the feast of Thot, on the first day of the year, on the feast of Uagaît, 4 
at the great fire festival, at the procession of the god Mînû, at the feast 
of offerings, at the monthly and half-monthly festivals, and every day. 5 

1 Thus the axis of the tomb of Pirsenû is 17° east of the magnetic north (Mariette, Leg 
Mastabas, p. 299). In some cases the divergence is only 1° or 2°, more often it is 6°, 7°, 8°, or 9°, 
as can be easily ascertained by consulting the work of Mariette. 

2 Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph of the original monument which is preserved in the 
Liverpool Museum ; cf. Gatty, Catalogue of the Mayer Collection ; I. Egyptian Antiquities, No. 294, 
p. 45. 

3 The " Divine Palace " is the palace of Osiris. Anubis performed for it the duties of usher, 
and his protection was deemed necessary for those who wished to be admitted into the presence of 
the " Great God " (cf. p. 197, et aeq., of this volume). 

4 Ûagaît was the festival of the dead, celebrated during the first days of the year. See p. 321. 

4 Mariette, Notice des principaux monuments expose's dans les galeries provisoires du Musée 


The chapel is usually small, and is almost lost in the great extent 
of the building. 1 It generally consists merely of an oblong chamber, 
approached by a rather short passage. 2 At the far end, and set back into the 


western wall, 4 is a huge quadrangular stele, at the foot of which is seen 
the table of offerings, made of alabaster, granite or limestone placed fiat 
upon the ground, and sometimes two little obelisks or two altars, hollowed 

d' Antiquités Egyptiennes, 1864, pp. 20-22 ; Sur les tombes de l'Ancien Empire que l'on trouve à Saqqâra, 
pp. 3-8 (Rev. Arch., 2nd series, xix. pp. 9-14); Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 21-33. For a 
more complete and technical description of the mastabas of the Memphite period, see Perrot-Chipiez, 
Histoire de l'Art da7i$ l'Antiquité", vol. i. pp. 169-178, and Maspero, Archéologie Egyptienne, pp. 109-133. 

1 Thus the chapel of the mastaba of Sabû is only 14 It. 4 in. long, by about 3 it. 3 iu. deep 
(Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 143), and that of the tomb of Phtahshopsisu 10 ft. 4 in. by 3 ft. 7 in. 
(id., p. 131). 

2 The mastaba of Tinti has four chambers (Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 149), as has also that 
of Assi-ônkhû (id., p. 190); but these are exceptions, as may be ascertained by consulting the work 
of Mariette. Most of those which contain several rooms are ancient one-roomed mastabas, which 
have been subsequently altered or enlarged ; this is the case with the mastabas of Shopsi (id., p. 206) 
and of Ankhaftuka (id., p. 304). A few, however, were constructed from the outset with all their 
apartments— that of Eâônkhûmai, with six chambers and several niches (id., p. 280); that of 
Khâbiûphtah, with three chambers, niches, and doorway ornamented with two pillars (id., p. 294); 
that of Ti, with two chambers, a court surrounded with pillars, a doorway, and long inscribed 
passages (id., pp. 332, 333) ; and that of Phtahhotpu, with seven chambers, besides niches (id., p. 351). 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Dumtchen, Iiesultate, vol. i. pi. 2. 

4 Mariette, Sur les tombes de l'Ancien Empire, p. 8 ; Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 35, 36, 
where " west " should be read for "east" in the published text. The rule is not as invariable as- 
Mariette believed it to be, and I have pointed out a few examples of stelae facing north or south. 



at the top to receive the gifts mentioned in the inscription on the exterior of 
the tomb. The general appearance is that of a rather low, narrow doorway, too 
small to be a practicable entrance. 1 The recess thus formed is almost always 
left empty ; sometimes, however, the piety of relatives placed within it a statue 
of the deceased. Standing there, with shoulders thrown back, head erect, 
and smiling face, the statue seems to step forth to lead the double from 
its dark lodging where it lies embalmed, to those glowing plains where 
he dwelt in freedom during his earthly life : another moment, crossing 
the threshold, he must descend the few steps leading into the public hall. 
On festivals and days of offering, when the priest and family presented 
the banquet with the customary rites, this great painted figure, in the act of 
advancing, and seen by the light of flickering torches or smoking lamps, 
might well appear endued with life. It was as if the dead ancestor himself 
stepped out of the wall and mysteriously stood before his descendants to 
claim their homage. The inscription on the lintel repeats once more the 
name and rank of the dead. Faithful portraits of him and of other members 
of his family figure in the bas-reliefs on the door-posts. The little scene 
at the far end represents him seated tranquilly at table, with the details 
of the feast carefully recorded at his side, from the first moment when 
water is brought to him for ablution, to that when, all culinary skill being 
exhausted, he has but to return to his dwelling, in a state of beatified 
satisfaction. The stele represented to the visitor the door leading to the 
private apartments of the deceased ; the fact of its being walled up for 
ever showing that no living mortal might cross its threshold. The in- 
scription which covered its surface was not a mere epitaph informing future 
generations who it was that reposed beneath. It perpetuated the name and 
genealogy of the deceased, and gave him a civil status, without which he 
could not have preserved his personality in the world beyond ; the nameless 
dead, like a living man without a name, was reckoned as non-existing. 
Nor was this the only use of the stele; the pictures and prayers inscribed 
upon it acted as so many talismans for ensuring the continuous existence 
of the ancestor, whose memory they recalled. They compelled the god 
therein invoked, whether Osiris or the jackal Anubis, to act as mediator 
between the living and the departed; they granted to the god the enjoy- 
ment of sacrifices and those good things abundantly offered to the deities, 
and by which they live, on condition that a share of them might first be 

1 The stele of Shiri, priest of the Pharaohs Sondi and Pirsenû, and one of the most ancient 
monuments known, offers a good example of these door-shaped stelae ; cf". p. 237 of this volume, aud 
Maspero, Guide du Visiteur au Musée de Boulaq, pp. 31, 32, where the stele of Khâbiûsokari is 
reproduced, and where the signification of stelae of this particular type was first pointed out. 



set aside for the deceased. By the divine favour, the soul or rather the 
doubles of the bread, meat, and beverages passed into the other world, 


and there refreshed the human double. It was not, however, necessary 
that the offering should have a material existence, in order to be effective ; 

1 Drawn by Bouclier, from a photograph of the tomb of Mirrûka, taken by M. de Morgan. 




the first comer who should repeat aloud the name and the formulas inscribed 
upon the stone, secured for the unknown occupant, by this means alone, the 
immediate possession of all the things which he enumerated. 1 

The stele constitutes the essential part of the chapel and tomb. In many 
cases it was the only inscribed portion, it alone being necessary to ensure 
the identity and continuous existence of the dead man ; often, however, the 



sides of the chamber and passage were not left bare. When time or the 
wealth of the owner permitted, they were covered with scenes and 
writing, expressing at greater length the ideas summarized by the figures 
and inscriptions of the stele. Neither pictorial effect nor the caprice of 
the moment was permitted to guide the artist in the choice of his subjects ; 
all that he drew, pictures or words, had a magical purpose. Every individual 
who built for himself an " eternal house," either attached to it a staff of 
priests of the double, of inspectors, scribes, and slaves, or else made an 
agreement with the priests of a neighbouring temple to serve the chapel 
in perpetuity. Lands taken from his patrimony, which thus became the 

1 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 1-31; Guide du Visiteur 
au Muse'e de Boulaq, p. 31, et seq. ; and Archéologie Égyptienne, p. 155, et seq. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a "squeeze" taken from the tomb of Ti. The domains are 
represented as women. The name is written before each figure, with the designation of the land- 
owner — " the nebbek [locust tree ?] of Ti," " the two sycamores of Ti," " the wine of Ti ; " cf. p. 329 
of this volume. 


" Domains of the Eternal House," rewarded them for their trouble, and 
supplied them with meats, vegetables, fruits, liquors, linen and vessels for 
sacrifice. 1 In theory, these " liturgies " were perpetuated from year to year, 
until the end of time ; but in practice, after three or four generations, the 


older ancestors were forsaken for those who had died more recently. Not- 
withstanding the imprecations and threats of the donor against the priests 
who should neglect their duty, or against those who should usurp the 
funeral endowments, 3 sooner or later there came a time when, forsaken by 
all, the double was in danger of perishing for want of sustenance. In order 
to ensure that the promised gifts, offered in substance on the day of 

1 Maspero, Éludes de Mythologie et if Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 53-75, where a contract 
of this kind, between a Prince of Siût and the priests of the god Ûapûaîtû, is explained at length ; 
cf. Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 313 ; E. and J. de Bougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques, vol. i. pl. 1. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Dumichen, Eesultate, vol. i. pi. 13. 

3 The mutilated text of the tomb of Sonûiônkhû offers an example of these menaces in the 
period with which we are dealing (Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 313 ; cf. E. and J. de Bougé, 
Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques, vol. i. pl. 1). Shorter formulas are found in the tombs of Hotpûhikhûît 
(Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 342), of Khonû (id., p. 185), and of Ninki (Piehl, Inscriptions pro- 
venant d'un Mastaba de la VI e Dynastie, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 
vol. xiii. pp. 121-126). 


burial, should be maintained throughout the centuries, the relatives not 
only depicted them upon the chapel walls, but represented in addition the 
lands which produced them, and the labour which contributed to their 
production. On one side we see ploughing, sowing, reaping, the carrying 
of the corn, the storing of the grain, the fattening of the poultry, and 
the driving of the cattle. A little further on, workmen of all description 
are engaged in their several trades: shoemakers ply the awl, glassmakers 
blow through their tubes, metal founders watch over their smelting-pots, 
carpenters hew down trees and build a ship; groups of women weave or 
spin under the eye of a frowning taskmaster, who seems impatient of their 
chatter. Did the double in his hunger desire meat? He might choose from 
the pictures on the wall the animal that pleased him best, whether kid, 
ox, or gazelle ; he might follow the course of its life, from its birth in 
the meadows to the slaughter-house and the kitchen, and might satisfy 
his hunger with its flesh. The double saw himself represented in the 
paintings as hunting, and to the hunt he went; he was painted eating and 
drinking with his wife, and he ate and drank with her ; the pictured 
ploughing, harvesting, and gathering into barns, thus became to him actual 
realities. In fine, this painted world of men and things represented upon 
the wall was quickened by the same life which animated the double, upon 
whom it all depended : the picture of a meal or of a slave was perhaps that 
which best suited the shade of guest or of master. 1 

Even to-day, when we enter one of these decorated chapels, the idea of 
death scarcely presents itself : we have rather the impression of being in 
some old-world house, to which the master may at any moment return. We 
see him portrayed everywhere upon the walls, followed by his servants, and 
surrounded by everything which made his earthly life enjoyable. One or 
two statues of him stand at the end of the room, in constant readiness to 
undergo the "Opening of the Mouth" and to receive offerings. 2 Should 
these be accidentally removed, others, secreted in a little chamber hidden 
in the thickness of the masonry, are there to replace them. 3 These inner 
chambers have rarely any external outlet, though occasionally they are con- 
nected with the chapel by a small opening, so narrow that it will hardly admit 
of a hand being passed through it. Those who came to repeat prayers and 
burn incense at this aperture were received by the dead in person. The 
statues were not mere images, devoid of consciousness. Just as the double 

1 Maspeeo, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptienne, vol. i. pp. 1-34 ; cf. Études 
Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 193, 194; Guide du Visiteur, pp. 205-207; Archéologie Égyptienne, pp. 117-120. 

2 Of. what is said about the " Opening of the Mouth " on p. 180 of this volume. 

3 This is the "serdab," or "passage" of Arab diggers; cf. Mariette, Notice des principaux 
monuments, 1864, pp. 23, 24 ; Sur les tombes de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 8, 9 ; Les Mastabas, pp. 41, 42. 


of a god could be linked to an idol in the temple sanctuary in order to 
transform it into a prophetic being, capable of speech and movement, 1 so 
when the double of a man was attached to the effigy of his earthly body, 
whether in stone, metal, or wood, a real living person was created and was 
introduced into the tomb. So strong was this conviction that the belief 
has lived on through two changes of religion until the present day. The 
double still haunts the statues with which he was associated in the past. 
As in former times, he yet strikes with madness or death any who dare to 
disturb his repose ; and one can only be protected from him by breaking, at 
the moment of discovery, the perfect statues which the vault contains. The 
double is weakened or killed by the mutilation of these his sustainers. 2 The 
statues furnish in their modelling a more correct idea of the deceased than his 
mummy, disfigured as it was by the work of the embalmers ; they were also 
less easily destroyed, and any number could be made at will. Hence arose 
the really incredible number of statues sometimes hidden away in the same 
tomb. 3 These sustainers or imperishable bodies of the double were multiplied 
so as to insure for him a practical immortality ; and the care with which 
they were shut into a secure hiding-place, increased their chances of pre- 
servation. 4 All the same, no precaution was neglected that could save a 
mummy from destruction. The shaft leading to it descended to a mean 
depth of forty to fifty feet, but sometimes it reached, and even exceeded, a 
hundred feet. Kunning horizontally from it is a passage so low as to 
prevent a man standing upright in it, which leads to the sepulchral chamber 
properly so called, hewn out of the solid rock and devoid of all ornament ; the 
sarcophagus, whether of fine limestone, rose-granite, or black basalt, does not 
always bear the name and titles of the deceased. The servants who deposited 
the body in it placed beside it on the dusty floor the quarters of the ox, 
previously slaughtered in the chapel, as well as phials of perfume, and large 
vases of red pottery containing muddy water ; after which they walled 
up the entrance to the passage and filled the shaft with chips of stone 
intermingled with earth and gravel. The whole, being well watered, soon 

1 See what has been said on the subject of prophetic statues on pp. 119, 120 of this History 

2 The legends still current about the pyramids of Gizeh furnish some good examples of this 
kind of superstition. " The guardian of the Eastern pyramid was an idol . . . who had both eyes 
open, and was seated on a throne, having a sort of halberd near it, on which, if any one fixed his 
eye, he heard a fearful noise, which struck terror to his heart, and caused the death of the 
hearer. There was a spirit appointed to wait on each guardian, who departed not from before him." 
The keeping of the other two pyramids was in like manner entrusted to a statue, assisted by a spirit 
(L'Égypte de Mourtadi, fils du Gaphiphe, from the translation of M. Pierre Vattier, Paris, 166G, 
pp. 46-61). I have collected a certain number of tales resembling that of Mourtadi in the Études 
de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 77, et seq. 

3 Eighteen or nineteen were found in the serdab of Rahotpû only at Saqqâra (Mariette, 
Notice des principaux Monuments, 1864, pp. 62, 182, 202 ; Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 157). 

4 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 7-9, 47-49, etc. 



hardened into a compact mass, which protected the vault and its master 
from desecration. 1 

During the course of centuries, the ever-increasing number of tombs 
at length formed an almost uninterrupted chain of burying-places on the 
table-land. At Gîzeh they follow a symmetrical plan, and line the sides of 
regular roads; 2 at Saqqâra they are scattered about on the surface of the 
ground, in some places sparsely, in others huddled confusedly together. 3 
Everywhere the tombs are rich in inscriptions, statues, and painted or 
sculptured scenes, each revealing some characteristic custom, or some detail 
of contemporary civilization. From the womb, as it were, of these cemeteries, 
the Egypt of the Memphite dynasties gradually takes new life, and reappears 
in the full daylight of history. Nobles and fellahs, soldiers and priests, scribes 
and craftsmen, — the whole nation lives anew before us ; each with his manners, 
his dress, his daily round of occupation and pleasures. It is a perfect picture, 
and although in places the drawing is defaced and the colour dimmed, yet these 
may be restored with no great difficulty, and with almost absolute certainty. 
The king stands out boldly in the foreground, and his tall figure towers over 
all else. He so completely transcends his surroundings, that at first sight 
one may well ask if he does not represent a god rather than a man ; and, as a 
matter of fact, he is a god to his subjects. They call him " the good god," 
" the great god," and connect him with Râ through the intervening kings, the 
successors of the gods who ruled the two worlds. His father before him was 
"Son of Râ," as was also his grandfather, and his great-grandfather, and so 
through all his ancestors, until from " son of Râ " to " son of Râ " they at last 
reached Râ himself. Sometimes an adventurer of unknown antecedents is 
abruptly inserted in the series, and we might imagine that he would interrupt 
the succession of the solar line ; but on closer examination we always find that 
either the intruder is connected with the god by a genealogy hitherto unsus- 
pected, or that he is even more closely related to him than his predecessors, 
inasmuch as Râ, having secretly descended upon the earth, had begotten him by 
a mortal mother in order to rejuvenate the race. 4 If things came to the worst, a 
marriage with some princess would soon legitimise, if not the usurper himself, 

1 Mariette, Notice des principaux Monuments Égyptiens, 1864, pp. 31, 32 ; Sur les tombes de 
l'Ancien Empire que l'on trouve à Saqqarah, pp. 9-11 ; Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 42-46. 

2 Jomabd, Description gëne'rale de Memphis et des Pyramides in the Description de l'Êgypte, vol. v. 
pp. 619, 620 ; Mariette, Sur les tombes de l'Ancien Empire que l'on trouve à Saqqarah, p. 4. 

3 Mariette, Sur les tombes de l'Ancien Empire, p. 6, and Les Mastabas, p. 29. The necropolis of 
Saqqâra is in reality composed of a score of cemeteries, grouped around, or between the royal 
pyramids, each having its clientele and particular regulations. 

* A legend, preserved for us in the Westcar Papyrus (Erman's edition, pi. ix. 11. 5-11, pl. x. 1. 5, 
et seq.), maintains that the first three kings of the "V th dynasty, Ûsirkaf, Sahûrî, and Kakiû, wero 
children born to Eâ, lord of Sakhîbû, by Bûdîtdidît, wife of a priest attached to the temple of 
that town. 



at least his descendants, and thus firmly re-establish the succession. 1 The 
Pharaohs, therefore,are blood-relations of 
the Sun-god, some through their father, 
others through their mother, directly 
begotten by the God, and their souls 
as well as their bodies have a super- 
natural origin ; each soul being a double 
detached from Horus, the successor of 
Osiris, and the first to reign alone 
over Egypt. This divine double is 
infused into the royal infant at birth, 
in the same manner as the ordinary 
double is incarnate in common mortals, 
it always remained concealed, and 
seemed to lie dormant in those princes 
whom destiny did not call upon to 
reign, but it awoke to full self-con- 
sciousness in those who ascended the 
throne at the moment of their accession. 
From that time to the hour of their death, 
and beyond it, all that they possessed 
of ordinary humanity was completely 
effaced ; they were from henceforth only 
"the sons of Eâ," the Horus, dwelling 
upon earth, who, during his sojourn here 
below, renews the blessings of Horus, 
son of Isis. 2 Their complex nature was 
revealed at the outset in the form and 
arrangement of their names. Among 

the Egyptians the choice of a name was not a matter of indifference ; not only 
did men and beasts, but even inanimate objects, require one or more names, and 
it may be said that no person or thing in the world could attain to complete 

1 According to the law attributed to Binotliris of the II" d dynasty; cf. p. 238 of this volume. 

2 The expressions designating kingly power in the time of the Ancient Empire were first 
analysed by E. de Rougé, Recherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières 
dynasties de Mané'thon, pp. 32, 33 ; and subsequently by Erman, Mgy-pten und Mgyptisehes Leben, 
pp. 89-91. The explanation which I have given above has already been put forward in a small 
memoir entitled Sur les quatre noms officiels des rois d'Égypte (Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 
273-288 ; and in the Lectures Historiques, pp. 42-45). 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Gayet. The king is Amenôthes III., whose 
conception and birth are represented in the temple of Luxor, with the same wealth of details that 
we should have expected, had he been a son of the god Amon and the goddess Mût: cf. Cham- 
pollion, Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie, pl. cccxxix., 2-cccxli. ; Rosellini, Monumenti Storici, 
pl. 38-41 ; Lepsius, Denlcm., iii. 74, 75. 





existence until the name had been conferred. The most ancient names were 
often only a short word, which denoted some moral or physical quality, as 
Titi the runner, Mini the lasting, Qonqeni the crusher, Sondi the formidable, 
Uznasît the flowery-tongued. They consisted also of short sentences, by which 
the royal child confessed his faith in the power of the gods, and his partici- 
pation in the acts of the Sun's life — " Khâfrî," his rising is Eâ ; " Men- 


kaûhorû," the doubles of Horus last for ever ; " Usirkerî," the double of Kâ 
is omnipotent. Sometimes the sentence is shortened, and the name of the 


god is understood : as for instance, " Usirkaf," his double is omnipotent ; 
" Snofrûi," he has made me good ; " Khûfûi," he has protected me, are put 
for the names " Usirkerî," " Ptahsnofrûi," 1 " Khnûmkhûfûi," with the sup- 
pression of Eâ, Phtah, and Khnûmû. 2 The name having once, as it were, 
taken possession of a man on his entrance into life, never leaves him either 
in this world or the next; the prince who had been called Unas or Assi 
at the moment of his birth, retained this name even after death, so long as 
his mummy existed, and his double was not annihilated. 

When the Egyptians wished to denote that a person or thing was in a 
certain place, they inserted their names within the picture of the place in 
question. Thus the name of Teti is written inside a picture of Teti's castle, 
the result being the compound hieroglyph Again, when the son of a 

king became king in his turn, they enclose his ordinary name in the long 
flat-bottomed frame cdi which we call a cartouche ; the elliptical part CD of 
which is a kind of plan of the world, a representation of those regions passed 
over by Kâ in his journey, and over which Pharaoh, because he is a son of 
Râ, exercises his rule. When the names of Teti or Snofrûi, following the 
group "son of the Sun," are placed in a cartouche, Ç^. ^ (] | ' ( ^ P f ^ J * 
they are preceded by the words 4 s which respectively express sovereignty 
over the two halves of Egypt, the South and the North, the whole expression 
describing exactly the visible person of Pharaoh during his abode among 
mortals. But this first name chosen for the child did not include the whole 
man ; it left without appropriate designation the double of Horus, which was 
revealed in the prince at the moment of accession. The double therefore 
received a special title, which is always constructed on a uniform plan : first 
the picture ^ of the hawk-god, who desired to leave to his descendants a portion 
of his soul, then a simple or compound epithet, specifying that virtue of 
Horus which the Pharaoh wished particularly to possess — " Horû nîb-mâît," 

1 The name Phtahsnofrûi is frequently met with on the stelae of Abydos (Lieblein, Dictionnaire 
des noms hiéroglyphiques, Nos. 132 and 726, pp. 40 and 241 ; Mariette, Abydos, vol. ii. pl. xxvii. a, and 
Catalogue général des monuments d' Abydos, pl. clxxvi., No. 660) : the name Kâsnofrûi, which one might 
be tempted to insert here, has not as yet been found upon the monuments of the ancient dynasties. 

2 For the restitution of the omitted elements in these and some other royal names of the same 
period, cf. W. Max Muller, Bemerkung iiber einige Ebnigsnamen, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. ix. 
pp. 176, 177. 



Horus master of Truth ; " Horû miri-toûi," Horus friend of both lands ; 
" Horû nîbkhâùû," Horus 
master of the risings ; " Horu 
mazîti," Horus who crushes 
his enemies. The variable 
part of these terms is usually- 
written in an oblong rect- 
angle, terminated at the 
lower end by a number of 
lines portraying in a sum- 
mary way the façade of a 
monument, in the centre of 
which a bolted door may 
sometimes be distinguished : 
this is the representation of 
the chapel where the double 
will one day rest, and the 
closed door is the portal of 
the tomb. 1 The stereotyped 
part of the names and titles, 
which is represented by the 
figure of the god, is placed 
outside the rectangle, some- 
times by the side of it, some- 
times upon its top : the hawk 
is, in fact, free by nature, 
and could nowhere remain 
imprisoned against his will. 

This artless preamble was not enough to satisfy the love of precision which 
is the essential characteristic of the Egyptians. When they wished to represent 
the double in his sepulchral chamber, they left out of consideration the period 
in his existence during which he had presided over the earthly destinies of the 
sovereign, in order to render them similar to those of Horus, from whom the 

1 This is what is usually known as the " Banner Name ; " indeed, it was for some time believed 
that this sign represented a piece of s>tuff, ornamented at the bottom by embroidery or fringe, and 
bearing on the upper part the title of a king. Wilkinson thought that this " square title," as he 
called it, represented a house (Extract from several Bieroglyphical Subjects, p. 7, note 14). The real 
meaning of the expression was determined by Professor Flinders Pctrie (Tunis, 1st part, p. 5, note, 
and A Season in Egypt, 1887, pp. 21, 22, and pi. xx.) and by myself (Revue Critique, 1888, vol. ii. 
pp. 118-120 ; Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 274, 275). 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from an illustration in Aeundale-Boxomi-Birch's Gallery of 
Antiquities from the British Museum, pi. 31. The king thus represented is Thutmosis II. of the 
XVIII th dynasty ; the spear, surmounted by a man's head, which the double holds in his hand, 
probably recalls the human victims formerly sacrificed at the burial of a chief (Lefébuke, Rites 
Égyptiens, pp. 5, 6). 




double proceeded. They, therefore, withdrew him from the tomb which should 
have been his lot, and there was substituted for the ordinary sparrow-hawk one 
of those groups which symbolize sovereignty over the two 
countries of the Nile — the coiled urœus of the North, and the 
vulture of the South, ^1 ; there was then finally added a 
second sparrow-hawk, the golden sparrow-hawk, the trium- 
phant sparrow-hawk which had delivered Egypt from Typhon. 1 
The soul of Snofrûi, which is called, as a surviving double, 
~, " Horns master of Truth," is, as a living double, 
entitled ^1 Js> . > " the Lord of the Vulture and of the 
Urseus," master of Truth, and Horus triumphant. 2 On the 
other hand, the royal prince, when he put on the diadem, 
received, from the moment of his advancement to the highest 
rank, such an increase of dignity, that his birth-name — even 
when framed in a cartouche and enhanced with brilliant epithets 
— was no longer able to fully represent him. This exaltation 
of his person was therefore marked by a new designation. As 
he was the living flesh of the sun, so his surname always makes 
allusion to some point in his relations with his father, and pro- 
claims the love which he felt for the latter, " Mirirî," or that 
the ka, on" double" the latter experienced for him, "Mirnirî," or else it indicates 
the stability of the doubles of Râ, " Tatkerî," their goodness, 
" Nofirkerî," or some other of their sovereign virtues. Several Pharaohs of the 
IV th dynasty had already dignified themselves by these surnames; those of 
the VI th were the first to incorporate them regularly into the royal preamble. 
There was some hesitation at first as to the position the surname ougbt to 
occupy, and it was sometimes placed after the birth-name, as in Q ^ Ço j |jj , 
" Papi Nofirkerî," sometimes before it, as in ( oj (jjjjj)) ' " ^°hrkeiî Papi." 4 

1 The meaning of this group, which has long heen rendered as " the gold sparrow-hawk," " the 
glittering sparrow-hawk," was determined with certainty for the first time by Brugsch, from a passage 
in a demotic inscription at Philse (Brugsch, Uebereinstimmung einer hieroglyphischen Inschrift von 
Philse mit dem griechisclien und demotischen Anfangs-Texte des Delcretes von Rosette, pp. 13, 14). Sub- 
sequently adopted by E. de Bouge' (Étude sur une stèle Égyptienne appartenant à la Bibliothèque 
Impériale, pp. 21, 22), Brugsch's interpretation has since been accepted by all Egyptologists (Brugsch, 
Die JEgyptologie, p. 202), though, from force of custom, the literal translation of these signs, " the 
golden Horus," is often given. ^ 

2 The reading of the group is not yet determined with certainty (cf. Erman, Der Konigstitel .^5 

in the Zeitschrift, vol. xxix. pp. 57, 58 ; and Piehl, Notes de Philologie Égyptienne, § 49, in the 
Proceedings of the Biblical Archaeological Society, vol. xiii., 1890-91, p. 569). The literal tran- 
scription would be " Master of the Vulture and of the Urœus ; " the sense is " Master of crowns," 
and consequently " Master of the Countries of North and South " (Brugsch, Uebereinstimmung einer 
hieroglyphischen Inschrift von Philee, pp. 10, 11). 

s The Ka, or double name, represented in this illustration is that of the Pharaoh Khephren, the 
builderof the second of the great pyramids at Gîzeh ; it reads " Horu usir-Hâîti," Horus powerful of heart. 

4 Some good examples of this indecision may be found in the texts of the pyramid of Papi II., 
where the cartouche of the prenomen is placed once before the cartouche of the name (Recueil de 
Travaux, vol. xii. p. 56), and almost everywhere else after it (ib., pp. 56, 5S, 59, 60, etc.). 


It was finally decided to place it at the beginning, preceded by the group 
4° ^ " King of Upper and Lower Egypt," which expresses in its fullest 
extent the power granted by the gods to the Pharaoh alone ; the other, or 
birth-name, came after it, accompanied by the words ^ " Son of the Sun." 
There were inscribed, either before or above these two solar names — which are 
exclusively applied to the visible and living body of 
the master — the two names of the sparrow-hawk, which 
belonged especially to the soul ; first, that of the 
double in the tomb, and then that of the double while 
still incarnate. Four terms seemed thus necessary 
to the Egyptians in order to define accurately the 
Pharaoh, both in time and in eternity. 

Long centuries were needed before this subtle 
analysis of the royal person, and the learned gradua- 
tion of the formulas which corresponded to it, could 
transform the Nome chief, become by conquest suzerain 
over all other chiefs and king of all Egypt, into a 
living god here below, the all-powerful son and suc- 
cessor of the gods ; but the divine concept of royalty, 
once implanted in the mind, quickly produced its 
inevitable consequences. From the moment that the 
Pharaoh became god upon earth, the gods of heaven, 
his fathers or his brothers, 1 and the goddesses recog- 
nized him as their son, and, according to the cere- 
monial imposed by custom in such cases, consecrated 
his adoption by offering him the breast to suck, 
as they would have done to their own child. 3 
Ordinary mortals spoke of him only in symbolic words, designating him by 
some periphrasis : Pharaoh, " Pirûi-Aûi," the Double Palace, " Pnuti," the 
Sublime Porte, 4 His Majesty, 5 the Sun of the two lands, Horus master of the 

1 The formula " his fathers the gods " or " his brethren the gods " is constantly applied to the 
Pharaohs in texts of all periods. 

5 Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Insinger. The original is in the great speos of Silsilis. 
The king here represented is Harmhabît of the XVIII th dynasty ; cf. Champollion, Monuments de l'Êgypt 
et de la Nubie, pl. cix., No. 3 ; Kosellini, Monumenti Storici, pl. xliv. 5 ; Lepsius, Denhm., iii. 121 b. 

3 The explanation of the scene, frequently met with, in which we see a goddess of gigantic 
stature offering her breast to a crowned or helmeted king, who stands before her, was first given by 
Maspebo, Notes au jour le jour, § 23, in the Proceedings of the Biblical Archxological Society, vol. xiv., 
1891-92, pp. 308-312. Characteristic examples of this method of adoption by actual or fictitious 
suckling of the person adopted, are found among other ancient and modern peoples. 

4 The meaning and etymology of the word Pharaoh were discovered by E. de Kougé, Note sur le mot 
Pharaon, in the Bulletin Archéologique de VAthénxum Français, 1856, pp. 66-68; Mr. Lepa^e-Eenouf 
has proposed an explanation of it, derived from the Hebrew (The Name of Pharaoh, in the Proceedings 
of the Biblical Archxological Society, vol. xv., 1892-93, pp. 421, 422). The value of the title Rûîti, 
Prûîti, was determined, to the best of my recollection, by Chabas, Le Voyage d'un Égyptien, p. 305. 

5 The title "Honuf " is translated by the same authors, sometimes as " His Majesty," sometimes 




palace, 1 or, less ceremoniously, by the indeterminate pronoun "One." 2 The 
greater number of these terms is always accompanied by a wish addressed 
to the sovereign for his " life," " health," and " strength," the initial signs 
of which are written after all his titles. 3 He accepts all this graciously, and 
even on his own initiative, swears by his own life, or by the favour 
of Râ, 4 but he forbids his subjects to imitate him : 5 for them it is 
a sin, punishable in this world and in the next, 6 to adjure the 
person of the sovereign, except in the case in which a 
magistrate requires from them a judicial oath. 7 He is 
approached, moreover, as a god is approached, with down- 
cast eyes, and head or back bent ; they " sniff the 
earth" before him, 8 they veil their faces with both 
hands to shut out the splendour of his appearance ; 
they chant a devout form of adoration before submitting to him a 
petition. No one is free from this obligation : his ministers them- 
selves, and the great ones of his kingdom, cannot deliberate with 
him on matters of state, without inaugurating the proceeding by a 
sort of solemn service in his honour, and reciting to him at length a 
eulogy of his divinity. 10 They did not, indeed, openly exalt him 
above the other gods, but these were rather too numerous to share 
heaven among them, whilst he alone rules over the " Entire Circuit 
of the Sun," and the whole earth, its mountains and plains, are in subjection under 
his sandalled feet. People, no doubt, might be "met with who did not obey him, 

as "His Holiness." The reasons for translating it "His Majesty," as was originally proposed by 
Champollion, and afterwards generally adopted, have been given last of all by E. de Bouge' 
(Chreslomathie Égyptienne, vol. ii. § 189, p. 60). 

1 Erman, Mgypten und Mgyptisches Leben, p. 92, where may be found collected several of these 
indirect methods of designating the king both in official documents and in ordinary speech. 

s This determinate manner of speaking of the sovereign, which we have as yet met with only 
in the texts of the New Theban Empire, was first pointed out by Maspero, Le Conte des deux Frères, 
in the Bévue des Cours Littéraires, vol. vii. p. 783, note 2. 

3 This is the group JjL pônkhû, ûzai,sonbû, usually shortened in French into v.s.f., vie, santé, force. 

* As occurs in the inscription of Piônkhi Miamun, 11. 24, 65 ; cf. 1. 110. 

5 Chabas, Rebrseo-Mgyptiaca, § iii. Interdiction des Jurements, in the Transactions of the Society 
of Biblical Archxology, vol. i. pp. 177-182. 

" In the " Negative Confession," the deceased declares that he has not uttered any malediction 
against the king (Livre des morts, ch. cxxv., Naville's edition, vol. ii. p. 306). 

7 For the judicial oath, and the form it took, cf. W. Spiegelberg, Studien und Materialien zum 
Bechtswesen des Pharaonenreiches der Dynastien xviii.-xxi. pp. 71-81. 

8 This is the literal translation of the group " sonû-to," which is usually employed to express the 
prostration of the faithful before the god or the king, the proscynêma of texts of the Greek period. 

9 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the engraving in Prisse d'Avennes, Becherclies sur les légendes 
royales et l'époque du règne de Schai ou Scheraï, in the Bévue Archéologique, 1st series, vol. ii. p. 467. 
The original is now preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale, to which it was presented by Prisse 
d'Avennes. It is of glazed earthenware, of very delicate and careful workmanship. 

10 The fashion was observed in all times, but the best examples of it are found on the monuments 
of the New Theban Empire. I may refer my readers specially to the commencement of the Stele 
of the Gold-mines (Prisse d'Avennes, Monuments Égyptiens, pl. xxi. ; and Chabas, Les Inscriptions 
des Mines d'or, p. 13, et seq.) 



but these were rebels, adherents of Sit, " Children of Ruin," 1 who, sooner or later, 
would be overtaken by punishment. While hoping that his fictitious claim to 
universal dominion would be realized, the king adopted, in addition to the 
simple costume of the old 
chiefs, the long or short 
petticoat, the jackal's tail, 
the turned-up sandals, and 
- the insignia of the supreme 
gods, — the ankh, the crook, 
the flail, and the sceptre 
tipped with the head of a jer- 
boa or a hare, which we mis- 
name the cucupha-headed 
sceptre. 2 He put on the 
many-coloured diadems of 
the gods, the head-dresses 
covered with feathers, the 
white and the red crowns 
either separately or com- 
bined so as to form the 
pshent. The viper or uraeus, 
in metal or gilded wood, 
which rose from his fore- 
head, was imbued with a 
mysterious life, which made it a means of executing his vengeance and accom- 
plishing his secret purposes. It was supposed to vomit flames and to destroy 
those who should dare to attack its master in battle. The supernatural virtues 
which it communicated to the crown, made it an enchanted thing which no one 
could resist. 4 Lastly, Pharaoh had his temples where his enthroned statue, 

1 On p. 159, note 2, of tins volume, will be found the explanation of the phrase " Mosû Batashît,'' 
which is usually translated " Children of Eebellion." 

2 This identification, suggested by Champollion (Dictionnaire hiéroglyphique, Nos. 384, 385), is, 
from force of custom, still adhered to, in nearly all works on Egyptology. But we know from ancient 
evidence that the cucupha was a bird, perhaps a hoopoe (Leemans, Horapollinis Niloi Hieroglyphica, 
pp. 279-281); the sceptre of the gods, moreover, is really surmounted by the head of a quadruped 
having a pointed snout and long retreating ears, and belonging to the greyhound, jackal, or jerboa 
species (Puisse d'Avennes, Recherches sur les légendes royales et sur Ve'poque du règne de Schai ou 
Scheraï, iu the Bévue Archéologique, 1st series, vol. ii., 1845, p. 466, et seq.). 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Insinger ; cf. Lepsius, Denkm., iii., 76. The 
picture represents Khâmhaît presenting the superintendents of storehouses to Tûtànkhamon, of the 
XVIII th dynasty. 

* The mysterious life with which the urseus of the royal crowns was supposed to be imbued, was 
first noticed by E. de Kougé, Étude sur divers monuments du règne de Toutmès III. découverts à 
Tlièbes par M. Mariette, p. 15. Concerning the enchanted crowns, see Maspeho, Études de Mytho- 
logie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 134, where a description of them, and a concise expla- 
nation of their magical office, will be found. 



animated by one of his doubles, received worship, prophesied, and fulfilled all 
the functions of a Divine Being, both during his life, and after he had rejoined 
in the tomb his ancestors the gods, who existed before him and who now 
reposed impassively within the depths of their pyramids. 1 

Man, as far as his body was concerned, and god in virtue of his soul 
and its attributes, the Pharaoh, in right of this double nature, acted as a 
constant mediator between heaven and earth. He alone was fit to transmit 
the prayers of men to his fathers and his brethren the gods. Just as the 
head of a family was in his household the priest far excellence of the gods of 
that family, — just as the chief of a nome was in his nome the priest par 
excellence in regard to the gods of the nome, — so was Pharaoh the priest 
far excellence of the gods of all Egypt, who were his special deities. He 
accompanied their images in solemn processions ; he poured out before them 
the wine and mystic milk, recited the formulas in their hearing, seized the 
bull who was the victim with a lasso and slaughtered it according to the rite 
consecrated by ancient tradition. Private individuals had recourse to his 
intercession, when they asked some favour from on high ; as, however, it was 
impossible for every sacrifice to pass actually through his hands, the 
celebrating priest proclaimed at the beginning of each ceremony that it 
was the king who made the offering — Sûtni di hotpû — he and none other, 
to Osiris, Phtah, and Ea-Harmakhis, so that they might grant to the faithful 
who implored them the object of their desires, and, the declaration being 
accepted in lieu of the act, the king was thus regarded as really officiating 
on every occasion for his subjects. He thus maintained daily intercourse with 
the gods, and they, on their part, did not neglect any occasion of communicating 
with him. They appeared to him in dreams to foretell his future, to command 
him to restore a monument which was threatened with ruin, to advise him 
to set out to war, to forbid him risking his life in the thick of the fight. 2 

1 This method of distinguishing deceased kings is met -with as far back as the " Song of the 
Harpist," which the Egyptians of the Eamesside period attributed to the founder of the XI th dynasty 
(Maspebo, Études Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 178, et seq.). The first known instance of a temple raised 
by an Egyptian king to his double is that of Amenôthes III. at Soleb, in Nubia, but I do not agree 
with Prof. Ed. Meyer (Geschichte des Alterthums, vol. i. pp. 268, 269, and Geschichte des alten 
JEgyptens, pp. 251, 252), or with Prof. Erman (JEgypten, p. 98), who imagine that this was the first 
instance of the practice, and that it had been introduced into Nubia before its adoption on Egyptian 
soil. Under the Ancient Empire we meet with more than one functionary who styles himself, in 
some cases during his master's lifetime, in others shortly after his death, " Prophet of Horus who 
lives in the palace " (Makiette, Les Mastabas, p. 228, tomb of Kai), or " Prophet of Kheops " (ibid., 
pp. 88, 89, tomb of Tinti), " Prophet of Sondi " (ibid., pp. 92, 93, tomb of Shiri), " Prophet of Kheops, 
of Mykerinos, of Ûsirkaf " (ibid., pp. 198-200, tomb of Tapûmânkhi), or of other sovereigns. 

2 Among other examples, the texts mention the dream in which Thûtmosis IV., while still a 
royal prince, received from Phrâ-Harmakhis orders to unearth the Great Sphinx (Vyse, Operations 
carried on at the Pyramids of Gizeh, vol. iii., pi. facing p. 114 ; Lepsids, Derikm., iii. 63), the dream in 
which Phtah forbids Minephtah to take part in the battle against the peoples of the sea (E. de 
Bougé, Extrait d'un mémoire sur les attaques, p. 9), that by which Tonûatamon, King of Napata, is 
persuaded to undertake the conquest of Egypt (Mariette, Mon. divers, pl. vii. ; Maspero, Essai sur 
la stèle du Songe, in the Bévue Archéologique, 2nd series, vol. xviii. pp. 321-332 ; cf. Records of the 



Communication by prophetic dreams was not, however, the method usually 
selected by the gods : they employed as interpreters of their wishes the 
priests and the statues in the temples. The king entered the chapel where 
the statue was kept, and performed in its presence the invocatory rites, 
and questioned it upon the subject which occupied his mind. The priest 
replied under direct inspiration from on high, and the dialogue thus entered 
upon might last a long time. Interminable discourses, whose records cover 
the walls of the Theban temples, inform us what the Pharaoh said on such 
occasions, and in what emphatic tones the gods replied. 1 Sometimes the 
animated statues raised their voices in the darkness of the sanctuary and 
themselves announced their will ; more frequently they were content to indicate 
it by a gesture. When they were consulted on some particular subject and 
returned no sign, it was their way of signifying their disapprobation. If, on 
the other hand, they significantly bowed their head, once or twice, the subject 
was an acceptable one, and they approved it. 2 No state affair was settled 
without asking their advice, and without their giving it in one way or another. 

The monuments, which throw full light on the supernatural character of 
the Pharaohs in general, tell us but little of the individual disposition of any 
king in particular, or of their everyday life. When by chance we come 
into closer intimacy for a moment with the sovereign, he is revealed to us 
as being less divine and majestic than we might have been led to believe, had 
we judged him only by his impassive expression and by the pomp with which 
he was surrounded in public. Not that he ever quite laid aside his grandeur ; 
even in his home life, in his chamber or his garden, during those hours when 
he felt himself withdrawn from public gaze, those highest in rank might 
never forget when they approached him that he was a god. He showed 
himself to be a kind father, a good-natured husband, 3 ready to dally with 
his wives and caress them on the cheek as they offered him a flower, or 
moved a piece upon the draught-board. He took an interest in those who 
waited on him, allowed them certain breaches of etiquette when he was pleased 
with them, 4 and was indulgent to their little failings. If they had just 

Past, 1st Ser., vol. iv. p. 83). Herodotus had already made us familiar with the dreams of Sabaco (iL 
139) and of the high priest Sethos (ii. 112). . 

1 At Deîr el-Baharî, Queen Hâtshopsîtû hears the voice of Amon himself in the depths of the 
sanctuary, or, in other words, the voice of the priest who received the direct inspiration and words 
of Amon iu the presence of the statue (Mariette, Deir el-Bahari, pl. x. 1. 2; Dumichen, Eistorische 
Inschriften, vol. ii. pl. xx. 11. 4-G). 

2 Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' 'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. i. p. 81, et seq. 

3 As a literary example of what the conduct of a king was like in his family circle, we may 
quote the description of King Mînîbphtah, in the story of Satni-Khâmoîs (Maspero, Les Contes popu- 
laires de VÉgyple Ancienne, 2nd edit., p. 165, et seq.). The pictures of the tombs at Tel-el-Amarna 
show us the intimate terms-' on which King Khuniaton lived with his wife and daughters, both 
big and little (Lepsius, Denlcm., iii., pi. 99 b, where the queen has her arms round the king's waist, 
104, 108, etc.). 

* Pharaoh Shopsiskaf dispenses his son-in-law Shopsisphtah from sniffing the earth in front of 



returned from foreign lands, a little countrified after a lengthy exile from the 
court, be would break out into pleasantries over their embarrassment and their 
unfashionable costume, — kingly pleasantries which excited the forced mirth 
of the bystanders, but which soon fell flat and had no meaning for those 
outside the palace. 1 The Pharaoh was fond of laughing and drinking ; indeed, 
if we may believe evil tongues, he took so much at times as to incapacitate 
him for business. 2 The chase was not always a pleasure to him, hunting 
in the desert, at least, where the lions evinced a provoking tendency to 
show as little respect for the divinity of the prince as for his mortal subjects; 
but, like the chiefs of old, he felt it a duty to his people to destroy wild 
beasts, and he ended by counting the slain in hundreds, however short his 
reign might be. 3 A considerable part of his time was taken up in war — in 
the east, against the Libyans in the regions of the Oasis ; in the Nile Valley 
to the south of Aswân against the Nubians; on the Isthmus of Suez and 
in the Sinaitic Peninsula against the Bedouin ; frequently also in a civil 
war against some ambitious noble or some turbulent member of his own 
family. He travelled frequently from south to north, and from north to 
south, leaving in every possible place marked traces of his visits — on the 
rocks of Elephantine and of the first cataract, 4 on those of Silsilis or of 
El-Kab, and he appeared to his vassals as Tûmû himself arisen among them 
to repress injustice and disorder. 5 He restored or enlarged the monuments, 
regulated equitably the assessment of taxes and charges, settled or dismissed 
the lawsuits between one town and another' concerning the appropriation 
of the water, or the possession of certain territories, distributed fiefs which 
had fallen vacant, among his faithful servants, and granted pensions to be paid 
out of the royal revenues. 6 At length he re-entered Memphis, or one of his 
usual residences, where fresh labours awaited him. He gave audience daily 

him (E. de Rouge, Recherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties 
de Manéthon, p. 68; Mariette, Les Mastabas, pp. 112, 113), and Papi I. grants to Ûni the privilege 
of wearing his sandals in the palace (E. de Rougé, Recherches sur les monuments, p. 128; Mabiette, 
Abydos, vol. ii. pis. xliv., xlv., 1. 23 ; Erman, Commentar zur Inschrift des Una, in the Zeitschri/t, 
1882, p. 20, leaves the passage unexplained). 

1 See in Les Aventures de Sinûhît (Maspero, Les Contes populaires de VÉgypt ancienne, pp. 
124, 125) an account of the audience granted by Amenemhâît II. to the hero on his return from a 
long exile in Asia. 

2 E.g. Amasis, in a tale of the Greek period (Maspebo, Les Contes populaires, 2nd edit., pp. 

3 Amenôthes III. had killed as many as a hundred and two lions during the first ten years of his 
reign (Scarabée 580 du Louvre, in Pierret's Recueil d'inscriptions inédites du Louvre, vol. i. pp. 87, 88). 

4 Traces of the journey of Mirnirî to Assûan are mentioned by Petrie in A Season in Egypt, 
pi. xiii., No. 338; and by Sayce, Gleanings from the Land of Egypt (in the Receuil de Travaux, 
vol. xv. p. 147), and of the journey of Papi I. to El-Kab by Stern, Die Cultusstàtte der Lucina, in the 
Zeilschrift, 1875, pp. 67, 68. 

5 These are the identical expressions used in the Great Inscription of Beni-Hassan, 11. 36-46. 

6 These details are not found on the historical monuments, but are furnished to us by the 
description given in " The Book of Knowledge of what there is in the other world " of the course 
of the sun across the domain of the hours of night; the god is there described as a Pharaoh passing 




to all, whether high or 
low, who were, or be- 
lieved that they were, 
wronged by some official, 
and who came to appeal 
to the justice of the 
master against the injustice of his servant. If he quitted the palace when the 
cause had been heard, to take boat or to go to the temple, he was not left 
undisturbed, but petitions and supplications assailed him by the way. 2 In 
addition to this, there were the daily sacrifices, the despatch of current affairs, 
the ceremonies which demanded the presence of the Pharaoh, and the reception 
of nobles or foreign envoys. One would think that in the midst of so many 
occupations he would never feel time hang heavy on his hands. He was, how- 
ever, a prey to that profound ennui which most Oriental monarchs feel so keenly, 
and which neither the cares nor the pleasures of ordinary life could dispel. Like 
the Sultans of the " Arabian Nights," the Pharaohs were accustomed to have 
marvellous tales related to them, or they assembled their councillors to ask 
them to suggest some fresh amusement : a happy thought would sometimes 
strike one of them, as in the case of him who aroused the interest of Snofrui 
by recommending him to have his boat manned by young girls barely clad in 
large-meshed network. All his pastimes were not so playful. The Egyptians 
by nature were not cruel, and we have very few records either in history 
or tradition of bloodthirsty Pharaohs; but the life of an ordinary individual 
was of so little value in their eyes, that they never hesitated to sacrifice 
it, even for a caprice. A sorcerer had no sooner boasted before Kheops 
of being able to raise the dead, than the king proposed that he should try 

through his kingdom, and all that he does for his vassals, the dead, is identical with what Pharaoh 
was accustomed to do for his subjects, the living (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d' Archeologio 
Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 44, 45). 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin (Champollion, Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie, pis. cxcix.-cc, 
cci. 2, 3; Eosellini, Monumenti Storici, pl. cxxiii., Nos. 1, 2; Lepsius, Denhm., iii. 208 a-d). 

2 See the Berlin Papyrus n° 2 for the supplications with which a peasant overwhelms the chief 
steward Mirûitensi and King Nibkanirî of the IX th or X th dynasty (Maspero, Les Contes populaires, 
2nd edit., p. 43, et seq.). 



the experiment on a prisoner whose head was to be forthwith cut off. 1 The 
anger of Pharaoh was quickly excited, and once aroused, became an all- 
consuming fire ; the Egyptians were wont to say, in describing its intensity, 
"His Majesty became as furious as a panther." 2 The wild beast often 
revealed itself in the half-civilized man. 

The royal family was very numerous. The women were principally chosen 
from the relatives of court officials of high rank, or from the daughters of the 
great feudal lords; 3 there were, however, many strangers among them, daughters 
or sisters of petty Libyan, Nubian, or Asiatic kings ; they were brought into 
Pharaoh's house as hostages for the submission of their respective peoples. 
They did not all enjoy the same treatment or consideration, and their original 
position decided their status in the harem, unless the amorous caprice of their 
master should otherwise decide. Most of them remained merely concubines 
for life, others were raised to the rank of " royal spouses," and at least one 
received the title and privileges of "great spouse," or queen. 4 This was 
rarely accorded to a stranger, but almost always to a princess born in the 
purple, a daughter of Kâ, if possible a sister of the Pharaoh, and who, 
inheriting in the same degree and in equal proportion the flesh and blood of 
the Sun-god, had, more than others, the right to share the bed and throne of 
her brother. 5 She had her own house, and a train of servants and followers as 
large as those of the king ; while the women of inferior rank were more or less 
shut up in the parts of the palace assigned to them, she came and went at 
pleasure, and appeared in public with or without her husband. The preamble 
of official documents in which she is mentioned, solemnly recognizes her as the 
living follower of Horus, the associate of the Lord of the Vulture and the 
Uraeus, the very gentle, the very praiseworthy, she who sees her Horus, or 
Horus and Sit, face to face. 6 Her union with the god-king rendered her a 

1 Erman, Die Mârchen des Papyrus Western; pl. viii. 1. 12, and pp. 10, 11 ; Maspero, Les Contes 
populaires de l'Égypte Ancienne, 2nd edit., pp. 42-44 and 73. Cf. p. 282 of this History. 

2 Thus in the Piônkhi-Miamûn inscription (11. 23 and 93, E. de Kougé's edition, pp. 20, 52), in 
the Conte des deux Frères, the hero, who is a kind of god disguised as a peasant, also becomes 
" furious," and the author adds, " as a southern panther " (Maspero, Les Contes populaires, 2nd edit , 
p. 10). 

3 Queen Mirirîônkhnas, wife of Papi I., was the daughter of a person named Khûi, attached to 
the court, her mother being a princess Nîbît (E. de Bougé, Becherches sur les monuments, p. 130, 
et seq. ; cf. E. and J. de Rougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques copiées en Égypte, pl. cliii). 

* The first " great spouse of the king " whose name has come clown to us, is mentioned by Ûni ; 
this is Queen Amîtsi, wife of Mirirî-Papi I. of the VI th dynasty (E. de Rouge, Becherches sur les 
monuments, p. 121; cf. Erman, Commentar zur Inschrift des Una, in the Zeitschrift, 1881, pp. 10, 11). 

5 It would seem that Queen Mirisônkhû (Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 183 ; Lepsius, Denhm., ii. 
14, 26), wife of Khephren, was the daughter of Kheops, and consequently her husband's sister (E. de 
Rouge, Becherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties de Manéthon, 
pp. 61, 62). 

6 The preamble of the queens of this period was settled for the first time by E. de Rougé (Becherches 
■sur les monuments, pp. 44, 45, 57-61, 130), on the authority of the inscriptions of Queen Mirtîttefsi 



goddess, and entailed upon her the fulfilment of all the duties which a goddess 
owed to a god. They were varied and important. The woman, indeed, was 
supposed to combine in herself more completely than a man the qualities 


necessary for the exercise of magic, whether legitimate or otherwise : she saw 
and beard that which the eyes and ears of man could not perceive ; her voice, 
being more flexible and piercing, was heard at greater distances; she was 

(E. and J. de Rougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques copiées en Égypte, pl. lxii.), of Queen Mirisônkhû 
(Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 183.; Lepsius, Denhm., ii. 14), of Queen Khûît (Mariette, Les Mastabas, 
pp. 207, 208), of a queen whose name is still uncertain (Mariette, Les Mastabas, pp. 225), and of 
Queen Mirirîônkhnas (E. and J. de Rougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques copiées en Egypte, pl. cliii.). 

1 Drawn by Faucker-Gudin, after Lepsius, Lenlm., iii. 77. The king is Amenôthes III. 
(XVIII th dynasty). 



by nature mistress of the art of summoning or banishing invisible beings. 
While Pharaoh was engaged in sacrificing, the queen, by her incantations, 
protected him from malignant deities, whose interest it was to divert the 
attention of the celebrant from holy things : she put them to flight by the 
sound of prayer and sistrum, 1 she poured libations and offered perfumes and 
flowers. In processions she walked behind her husband, gave audience with 
him, governed for him while he was engaged in foreign wars, or during his 
progresses through his kingdom : such was the work of Isis while her brother 
Osiris was conquering the world. 2 Widowhood did not always entirely 
disqualify her. If she belonged to the solar race, and the new sovereign was a 
minor, she acted as regent by hereditary right, and retained the authority for 
some years longer. 3 It occasionally happened that she had no posterity, or 
that the child of another woman inherited the crown. In that case there was 
no law or custom to prevent a young and beautiful widow from wedding 
the son, and thus regaining her rank as Queen by a marriage with the 
successor of her deceased husband. It was in this manner that, during the 
earlier part of the IV th dynasty, the Princess Mirtîttefsi ingratiated herself suc- 
cessively in the favour of Snofrùi and Kheops. 4 Such a case did not often arise, 
and a queen who had once quitted the throne had but little chance of again 
ascending it. Her titles, her duties, her supremacy over the rest of the family, 
passed to a younger rival: formerly she had been the active companion of the 
king, she now became only the nominal spouse of the god, 5 and her office came 
to an end when the god, of whom she had been the goddess, quitting his body, 
departed heavenward to rejoin his father the Sun on the far-distant horizon. 6 
Children swarmed in the palace, as in the houses of private individuals : 

1 The magical virtues of the sistrum are celebrated by the author of De Iside et Osiride, § 63 
(Parthey's edition, pp. Ill, 112); frequent mention is made of them in the Dendera inscriptions. 

2 The part played by the queen in regard to the king has been clearly defined by the earlier 
Egyptologists. A statement of the views of the younger Champollion on this subject will be found 
in the Egypte ancienne of Champollion-Figeac (p. 56, et seq.) ; as to the part played by Isis, Eegent 
of Egypt, cf. pp. 173-175 of the present work. 

3 The best-known of these queen regencies is that which occurred during the minority of 
Thûtmosis III., about the middle of the XVIII th dynasty. Queen Tûaû also appears to have 
acted as regent for her son Eamses II. during his first Syrian campaigns (Lepsius, Notice sur deux 
statues égyptiennes représentant l'une la mère du roi Bamsès-Sésostris, l'autre le roi Amasis, in vol. ix. 
of the Annales de l'Institut de Correspondance archéologique, p. 5, et seq.). 

4 M. de Kouge' was the first to bring this fact to light in his Becherches sur les monuments qu'on 
peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties de Manétlion, pp. 36-38. Mirtîttefsi also lived in the 
harem of Khephren, but the title which connects her with this king — AmahMt, the vassal — proves 
that she was then merely a nominal wife; she was probably by that time, as M. de Rougé says, of 
too advanced an age to remain the favourite of a third Pharaoh. 

5 The title of " divine spouse " is not, so far as we know at present, met with prior to the 
XVIII th dynasty. It was given to the wife of a living monarch, and was retained by her after his 
death ; the divinity to whom it referred was no other than the king himself. Cf. Erman, in Schwein- 
furth's memoir, Alte Baureste und Hieroglyphische Inschriften im Uadi Gasûs, p. 17, et seq. (Berlin 
Academy of Sciences, Philol.-Eist. Abhandlungen nicht zur Académie geltor. Gelehrter, 1885, vol. ii.). 

These are the identical expressions used in the Egyptian texts in speaking of the death of 


in spite of the number who died in infancy, they were reckoned by tens, 
sometimes by the hundred, and more than one Pharaoh must have been 
puzzled to remember exactly 
the number and names of his 
offspring. 1 The origin and 
rank of their mothers greatly 
influenced the condition of 
the children. No doubt the 
divine blood which they took 
from a common father raised 
them all above the vulgar 
herd, but those connected 
with the solar line on the 
maternal side occupied a de- 
cidedly much higher position 
than the rest : as long as one 
of these was living, none of 
his less nobly-born brothers 
might aspire to the crown. 2 
Those princesses who did not 
attain to the rank of queen 
by marriage, were given in 
early youth to some well-to- 
do relative, 4 or to some cour- 
tier of high descent whom 
Pharaoh wished to honour ; 5 
they filled the office of priestesses to the goddesses Nit or Hâthor, 6 and bore 

kings ; cf. Maspeko, Les Premières Lignes des Mémoires de Sinûhit, pp. 3, 10 (Mémoires de l'Institut 
Égyptien, vol. ii.), for the death of Amenemhâît I., and Eueus, Hiaten und Zeit Tutmcs III., in the 
Zeitschri/t, 1873, p. 7, for that of ïhûtmosis HI. 

1 This was probably go in the case of the Pharaoh Ramses II., more than one hundred and fifty 
of whose children, boys and girls, are known to us, and who certainly had others besides of whom 
we know nothing. 

2 Proof of this fact is furnished us, in so far as the XVIII th dynasty is concerned, by the history 
of the immediate successors of Thûtmosis I., the Pharaohs Thûtmosis II., Thûtmosis III., Queen 
Hâtshopsîtû, Queen Mûtnofrît, and Isis, concubine of Thûtmosis II. and mother of Thûtmosis III. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief in the temple of Ibsambûl : Nofrîtari (cf. Lepsius, 
l)en\m., iii., 189 6) shakes behind Ramses II. two sistra, on which are representations of the head of 

1 Thus the Princess Sîtmosû was given in marriage to her brother Safkhîtâbûihotpû (Lepsius, 
Denkm., ii., pl. xxiv. ; cf. E. de Rougé, Recherches sur les monuments, p. 44, but the instance given 
•is not absolutely certain). 

5 Princess Khâmâît, eldest daughter of Pharaoh Shopsiskaf, was married to ShopsUphtah in this 
manner (E. de Rougé, Recherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux si» premières dynasties, 
p. 67), and Princess Khontkaûs to Snozmûhît, surnamed Midi (id., pp. 103, 104). 

6 To give only one instance from among many, Princess Hotpûhirîsît was prophetess of Hâthor 
and of Nit (Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 90 ; E. and J. de Rougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques, pl. lxiv.). 





in their households titles which they transmitted to their children, with such 
rights to the crown as belonged to them. 1 The most favoured of the princes 
married an heiress rich in fiefs, settled on her domain, and founded a race of 
feudal lords. Most of the royal sons remained at court, at first in their father's 
service and subsequently in that of their brothers' or nephews' : the most diflicult 
and best remunerated functions of the administration were assigned to them, the 
superintendence of public works, the important offices of the priesthood, 2 the 
command of the army. 3 It could have been no easy matter to manage without 
friction this multitude of relations and connections, past and present queens, 
sisters, concubines, uncles, brothers, cousins, nephews, sons and grandsons of 
kings who crowded the harem and the palace. The women contended among 
themselves for the affection of the master, on behalf of themselves or their 
children. The children were jealous of one another, and had often no bond of 
union except a common hatred for the son whom the chances of birth had 
destined to be their ruler. As long as he was full of vigour and energy, Pharaoh 
maintained order in his family; but when his advancing years and failing 
strength betokened an approaching change in the succession, competition 
showed itself more openly, and intrigue thickened around him or around his 
nearest heirs. Sometimes, indeed, he took precautions to prevent an outbreak 
and its disastrous consequences, by solemnly associating with himself in the 
royal power the son he had chosen to succeed him : Egypt in this case had to 
obey two masters, the younger of whom attended to the more active duties of 
royalty, such as progresses through the country, the conducting of military 
expeditions, the hunting of wild beasts, and the administration of justice; while 
the other preferred to confine himself to the rôle of adviser or benevolent 
counsellor. 4 Even this precaution, however, was insufficient to prevent 
disasters. The women of the seraglio, encouraged from without by their 
relations or friends, plotted secretly for the removal of the irksome sovereign. 5 

1 Nîbît, married to KMi, transmitted her rights to her daughter Mirirîônkhnas; this latter 
•would bave been the rightful heir to the throne at the beginning of the VI th dynasty (E. de Rougé, 
Recherches, p. 132, note 1). 

2 Mirabû, son of Kheops, was " head of all the works of the king " (Lepsius, Denkm., ii. 18, et seq.) ; 
Minû-An was high priest of the Hermopolitan Thot (Lepsius, Denkm., ii. 24 ; cf. E. de Rougé, Recherche» 
mr les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties, p. 62) ; Kbâfkhûfûi was prophet of 
Hâpi and of "Horus who raises his arm"(E. and J. de Rougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques, pl. lxi.). 

3 Prince Amoni (Amenemhâît II.), son of Ûsirtasen I., commanded an army during a campaign 
in Ethiopia (Chasipollion, Monuments de l'Égypte, vol. ii. p. 42, and pi. cccxv. ; Lepsius ; Denkm., ii. 132). 

• This fact was known from the time of Lepsius (Bunsen, JEgyptens Stelle in der Weltgeschichte, 
vol. ii. p. 228, et seq. ; cf. E. de Rougé, Examen de l'ouvrage de M. le chevalier de Bunsen, 2nd 
art., p. 45, et seq.), in regard to the first four Pharaohs of the XII th dynasty. A passage in the 
Mémoires de Sinoulnt (Maspero, Les Contes populaires, 2nd edit., pp. 101-104) gives a very exact- 
description of the respective parts played by the two kings. 

5 The passage of the Ûni inscription, in which mention is made of a lawsuit carried on against Queen 
Amîtsi (Erman, Commentar zur Inschrift des Una, in the Zeitschri/t, 1882, pp. 10-12), probably refers 
to some harem conspiracy. The celebrated lawsuit, some details of which are preserved for us in a 



Those princes who had been deprived by their father's decision of any 
legitimate hope of reigning, concealed their discontent to no purpose ; they 
were arrested on the first suspicion of disloyalty, and were massacred whole- 
sale ; their only chance of escaping summary execution was either by 
rebellion 1 or by taking refuge with some independent tribe of Libya or of the 
desert of Sinai. 2 Did we but know the details of the internal history of Egypt, 
it would appear to us as stormy and as bloody as that of other Oriental empires : 
intrigues of the harem, conspiracies in the palace, murders of heirs-apparent, 
divisions and rebellions in the royal family, were the almost inevitable 
accompaniment of every accession to the Egyptian throne. 

The earliest dynasties had their origin in the " White Wall," but the 
Pharaohs hardly ever made this town their residence, and it would be incor- 
rect to say that they considered it as their capital ; each king chose for himself 
in the Memphite or Letopolite nome, between the entrance to the Fayûm 
and the apex of the Delta, a special residence, where he dwelt with his court, 
and from whence he governed Egypt. 3 Such a multitude as formed his court 
needed not an ordinary palace, but an entire city. A brick wall, surmounted 
by battlements, formed a square or rectangular enclosure around it, and was of 
sufficient thickness and height not only to defy a popular insurrection or the 
surprises of marauding Bedouin, but to resist for a long time a regular siege. 
At the extreme end of one of its façades, was a single tall and narrow opening, 
closed by a wooden door supported on bronze hinges, and surmounted with 
a row of pointed metal ornaments ; this opened into a long narrow passage 
between the external wall and a partition wall of equal strength ; at the 
end of the passage in the angle was a second door, sometimes leading into 
a second passage, but more often opening into a large courtyard, where 
the dwelling-houses were somewhat crowded together : assailants ran the 
risk of being annihilated in the passage before reaching the centre of 
the place. 4 The royal residence could be immediately distinguished by the 

papyrus of Turin (Th. Dévèhia, Le Papyrus judiciaire de Turin, vide Journal Asiatique, 1866-68), 
gives us some information in regard to a conspiracy which was hatched in the harem against Ramses III. 

1 A passage in the " Instructions of Amenemhâît " {Saltier Pap. IL, pl. i. L 9, et seq.) describes in 
somewhat obscure terms an attack on the palace by conspirators, and the wars which followed their 

2 The case of Sinûhît, when he fled from Libya into Idurnœa, on the death of Amenemhâît I. 
(Maspero, Les Premières Lignes des Mémoires de Sinouhît, pp. 17, 18, and Les Contes populaires, 
2nd edit., p. 97, et seq.), is an instance of this. 

3 Erman was the first to bring this important point in early Egyptian history to light (Erman, 
JEgypten und JEgyptisches Leben im Altertum, pp. 243, 244 ; cf. Ed. Meyer, Geschichte des Alien 
JEgyytens, pp. 56, 57, and the objections of Wiedemann, The Age of Memphis, in the Proceedings of 
the Society of Biblical Archxology, vol. ix., 1886-87, pp. 184, 190). 

4 No plan or exact drawing of any of the palaces of the Ancient Empire has come down to us, 
but, as Erman has very justly pointed out, the signs found in contemporary inscriptions give us 
a good general idea of them (Erman, Mgypten, pp. 106, 107). The doors which lead from one 
of the hours of the night to another, in the "Book of the Other World," show us the double 



projecting balconies on its façade, from which, as from a tribune, Pharaoh 
could watch the evolutions of his guard, the stately approach of foreign 
envoys, Egyptian nobles seeking audience, or such officials as he desired 
to reward for their services. They advanced from the far end of the court, 
stopped before the balcony, and after prostrating themselves stood up, bowed 
their heads, wrung and twisted their hands, now quickly, now slowly, 
in a rhythmical manner, and rendered worship to their master, chanting 
his praises, before receiving the necklaces and jewels of gold which he 
presented to them by his chamberlains, or which he himself deigned to fling 
to them. 1 It is difficult for us to catch a glimpse of the detail of the internal 
arrangements : we find, however, mention made of large halls " resembling the 
hall of Atûmû in the heavens," whither the king repaired to deal with state 
affairs in council, to dispense justice and sometimes also to preside at state 
banquets. Long rows of tall columns, carved out of rare woods and painted 
with bright colours, supported the roofs of these chambers, which were 
entered by doors inlaid with gold and silver, and incrusted with malachite 
or lapis-lazuli. 2 The private apartments, the " âkhonûîti," were entirely 
separate, but they communicated with the queen's dwelling and with the 
harem of the wives of inferior rank. 3 The "royal children" occupied a 
quarter to themselves, under the care of their tutors ; they had their own 
houses and a train of servants proportionate to their rank, age, and the 
fortune of their mother's family. 4 The nobles who had appointments at court 

passage leading to tlie courtyard (Maspero, Éludes de 'Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, 
vol. ii. pp. 166-168). The hieroglyph Jj^j gives us the name Ûôskhît (literally, the broad [place]) 
of the courtyard on to which the passage opened, at the end of which the palace and royal judgment- 
seat (or, in the other world, the tribunal of Osiris, the court of the double truth) were situated. 

1 The ceremonial of these receptions is not represented on any monuments with which we are at 
present acquainted, prior to the XVIII th dynasty ; it may be seen in Lepsius, Denkm., iii. 76, under 
Amenôthes III., and 103-105, under Amenôthes IV., in Dumichen, Hist. Inst., vol. ii. pi. lx. e, under 
Harmhabi. The ceremonial during the XII" 1 dynasty is described in the Mémoires de Sinouhît 
(Maspero, Les Contes populaires, 2nd edit., pp. 123-127). I am inclined to believe the "Golden 
Friends " mentioned iu the Uni inscription (1. 17) are those "Friends of the King" who had received 
the necklace and jewels of gold at one of these solemn audiences. 

2 This is the description of the palace of Amon built by Kamses III. (Harris Papyrus, No. 4, pi. iv. 
11. 11, 12). Eamses II. was seated in one of these halls, on a throne of gold, when he deliberated with his 
councillors in regard to the construction of a cistern in the desert for the miners who were going to 
the gold-mines of Akîti (Prisse, Monuments, pl. xxi. 1. 8). The room in which the king stopped, after 
leaving his apartments, for the purpose of putting on his ceremonial dress and receiving the homage of 
his ministers, appears to me to have been called dining the Ancient Empire " Pi-daît " — " The House 
of Adoration " (Mariette, Les Mastabas, pp. 270, 271, 307, 308, etc.), the house in which the king was 
worshipped, as in temples of the Ptolemaic epoch, was that in which the statue of the god, on leaving 
the sanctuary, was dressed and worshipped by the faithful. Sinûhît, under the XII th dynasty, was 
granted an audience in the "Hall of Electrum" (Maspero, Les Contes populaires, 2nd edit., p. 123). 

3 The " sûliît " or pavilions formed part of the apartments belonging to the harem. The tomb 
of Eakhmiii shows us one of these " women's kiosques " belonging to the XVIII th dynasty (Virey, 
Le Tombeau de Rekhmarâ, pl. xxxv., in the Mémoires de la mission française, vol. v.); other pictures 
of different epochs represent the dead as playing at draughts in them (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, 
vol. ii. p. 220, et seq.). 

4 Shposiskafânkhù (Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 50) was " Governor of the houses of the Eoyal Children " 
under Nofiririkerî of the V" 1 dynasty (E. de KotGÉ, Recherches sur les monuments, p. 73). Sinûhît receives- 



and the royal domestics lived in the palace itself, but the offices of the 
different functionaries, the storehouses for their provisions, the dwellings 
of their employés, formed distinct quarters outside the palace, grouped around 
narrow courts, and communicating with each other by a labyrinth of lanes 
or covered passages. The entire building was constructed of wood or bricks, 
less frequently of roughly dressed stone, badly built, and wanting in solidity. 
The ancient Pharaohs were no more inclined than the Sultans of later days 
to occupy palaces in which their predecessors had lived and died. Each 
king desired to possess a habitation after his own heart, one which would 
not be haunted by the memory, or perchance the double, of another sovereign. 1 
These royal mansions, hastily erected, hastily filled with occupants, were 
vacated and fell into ruin with no less rapidity : they grew old with their 
master, or even more rapidly than he, and his disappearance almost always 
entailed their ruin. In the neighbourhood of Memphis many of these palaces 
might be seen, which their short-lived masters had built for eternity, an 
eternity which did not last longer than the lives of their builders. 2 

Nothing could present a greater variety than the population of these 
ephemeral cities in the climax of their splendour. We have first the 
people who immediately surrounded the Pharaoh, 3 the retainers of the palace 
and of the harem, whose highly complex degrees of rank are revealed to 
us on the monuments. 4 His person was, as it were, minutely subdivided 
into departments, each requiring its attendants and their appointed chiefs. 
His toilet alone gave employment to a score of different trades. There were 
royal barbers, who had the privilege of shaving his head and chin ; hair- 

a " House of a son of the king," in which there were all manner of riches, a tent in which to take the air, 
ornaments worthy of a god, and orders on the treasury, money, garments made from royal s tufts, gums and 
royal perfumes such as the children of the king delight to have in every house, and lastly, " whole troops of 
artisans of all kinds " (Maspero, Les Contes populaires, 2nd edit., p. 127). In regard toother "Governors 
of the houses of the Royal Children," see Mauiette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 250, 259. 

1 Erman, Mgypten und JEgyptisches Leben im Altertum, pp. 242-244. 

2 The song of the harp-player on the tomb of King Autùf contains an allusion fo these ruined palaces: 
" The gods [kings] who were of yore, and who repose in their tombs, mummies and manes, all 
buried alike in their pyramids, when castles are built they no longer have a place in them ; see, thus 
it is done with them ! I have heard the poems in praise of Imhotpu and of Hardidif which are sung 
in the songs, and yet, see, where are their places to-day ? their walls are destroyed, their places no 
more, as though they had never existed 1 " (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 179, 180). 

3 They are designated by the general terms of Shonîtiû, the " people of the circle," and Qonbîtiû, the 
" people of the corner." These words are found in religious inscriptions referring to the staff of the tem- 
ples, and denote the attendants or court of each god ; they are used to distinguish the notables of a town or 
borough, the sheikhs, who enjoyed the right to superintend local administration and dispense justice. 

4 The Egyptian scribes had endeavoured to draw up an hierarchical list of these offices. At present 
■we possess the remains of two lists of this description. One of these, preserved in the " Hood Papyrus " 
in the British Museum, has been published and translated by Maspero, in Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. 
pp. 1-66 (cf. Brugsch, Die JEgyptologie, pp. 211-227); another and more complete copy, discovered in 
1890, is in the possession of M. Gole'nischeff. The other list, also in the British Museum, was pub- 
lished by Prof. Petrie in a memoir of The Egypt Exploration Fund (Two Hieroglyphic Papyri from 
Tards, p. 21, et seq.); in this latter the names and titles are intermingled with various other matter. 
To these two works may be added the lists of professions and trades to be found passim on the 
monuments, and which have been commented on by Brugsch (Die JEgyptologie, p. 228, et seq.). 



dressers who ruade, curled, and put on his black or blue wigs and adjusted 
the diadems to them ; 1 there were manicurists who pared and polished 
his nails, 2 perfumers who prepared the scented oils and pomades for the 
anointing of his body, the kohl for blackening his eyelids, the rouge for 
spreading on his lips and cheeks. 3 His wardrobe required a whole troop 
of shoemakers, 4 belt-makers, and tailors, some of whom had the care of stuffs 
in the piece, others presided over the body-linen, while others took charge 
of his garments, comprising long or short, transparent or thick petticoats, 
fitting tightly to the hips or cut with ample fulness, draped mantles and 
flowing pelisses. 5 Side by side with these officials, the laundresses plied 
their trade, which was an important one among a people devoted to white, 
and in whose estimation want of cleanliness in dress entailed religious 
impurity. Like the fellahîn of the present time, they took their linen daily 
to wash in the river; they rinsed, starched, smoothed, and pleated it 
without intermission to supply the incessant demands of Pharaoh and his 
family. 6 The task of those set over the jewels was no easy one, when we 
consider the enormous variety of necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and 
sceptres of rich workmanship which ceremonial costume required for 
particular times and occasions. The guardianship of the crowns almost 
approached to the dignity of the priesthood ; for was not the uraeus, which 
ornamented each one, a living goddess? The queen required numerous 
waiting-women, and the same ample number of attendants were to be 
encountered in the establishments of the other ladies of the harem. Troops 
of musicians, singers, dancers, and almehs whiled away the tedious hours, 
supplemented by buffoons and dwarfs. 7 The great Egyptian lords evinced 

1 Manofir was " inspector of the king's wig-makers " under Tatkerî of the V th dynasty (Mariette, Les 
Mastabas, pp. 446, 447), and Phtahnimâît discharged the duties of the same office under Nofiririkerî 
(id,, ibid., p. 250). Khâfrîôukhû was " director of the king's wig-uiakers " under one of the Pharaohs 
of the IV th dynasty (E. and J. de Kougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques recueillies en Égypte, p. lx.). 

2 Eâânkhûmâi was " director of those who dress the king's nails " under a Pharaoh of the V th dynasty 
(Mariette, Les Mastabas, pp. 283, 284) ; Khâbiûphtah combined this office with that of " director of 
the wig-makers " under Sahûrî and under Nofiririkerî of the V th dynasty (id., ibid., p. 295). 

3 Mihtinofir was inspector for Pharaoh and " director of the perfumed oils of the king and queen " 
(Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 298), as also was Phtahnofirirîtû (id., ibid., p. 322) ; these two persons 
also exercised important functions in connection with the royal linen. 

4 The " royal bootmakers " are mentioned in the Hood Papyrus (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, 
vol. ii. p. 11) : the stelse of Abydos mention several others in the time of the Kamesides. 

5 Khonu was "director of the king's stuffs" (Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 185), as was also 
Ankkaftuka (id., ibid., pp. 307, 308, cf. E. and J. de Kougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques, pl. lxxxiii.) ; 
Sakhemphtah was " director of the white linen " (Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 252), as also Tapu- 
mônkhû (id., ibid., p. 198), and the two personages Mihtinofir and Phtahnofirirîtû, mentioned above in 
note 3. At the beginning of the XII th dynasty, we find Hâpizaûfi of Siût installed as " primate of all 
the dresses of the king " (E. and J. de Kougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques, pl. cclxxxiii.), i.e. grand- 
master of the wardrobe, and this title often occurs in the preamble of the princes of Hermopolis. 

6 The " royal laundrymen " and their chiefs are mentioned in the Conte des deux frères under the 
XIX th dynasty, as well as their laundries on the banks of the Nile (Maspero, Les Contes populaires, 
2nd edit., p. 2). 

7 Râhonem was " directress of the female players on the tabour and of the female singers " 
(Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 138, et seq.) ; Snofrûinofir (E. and J. de Rougé, Inscriptions recueillie» 


a curious liking for these unfortunate beings, and amused themselves by 
getting together the ugliest and most deformed creatures. They are often 
represented on the tombs beside their masters in company with his pet dog, 
or a gazelle, or with a monkey which they sometimes hold in leash, or some- 


times are engaged in teasing. 2 Sometimes the Pharaoh bestowed his friend- 
ship on his dwarfs and confided to them occupations in his household. One 
of them, Khnûinhotpû, died superintendent of the royal linen. The staff 
of servants required for supplying the table exceeded all the others in 
number. It could scarcely be otherwise if we consider that the master had 
to provide food, not only for his regular servants, 3 but for all those of his 

enÉgypte, pis. iii., iv.) and Kâmuïphtah (Mariette, Les Mastabas, pp. 154, 155) were heads of the 
musicians and organizers of the king's pastimes. 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a squeeze taken at Saqqâra in 1878 by Mariette. 

2 The figure of a female dwarf appears among the female singers in Lepsius, Denlcm., ii., 36 ; 
others on the tombs of Khnûmhotpû and Amenembâît at Beni-Hasan (Champollion, Monuments de 
VÉgypte, pl. cccxcvii. 4 ; Griffith-Newberry, Beni-Hasan, vol. i. pi. xii.), with several male dwarfs 
of a different typo (id., pi. ccclxxxi. 6/8, 3). 

1 Even after death they remained inscribed on the registers of the palace, and had rations served 



employés and subjects whose business brought them to the royal residence : 1 
even those poor wretches who came to complain to him of some more or less 
imaginary grievance were fed at his expense while awaiting his judicial 
verdict. 2 Head-cooks, butlers, pantlers, butchers, pastrycooks, 
fishmongers, game or fruit dealers — if all enumerated, 
would be endless. The bakers who baked the ordinary 
bread were not to be confounded with those who manu- 
factured buscuits. The makers of pancakes and dough-nuts 
took precedence of the cake-bakers, and those who concocted 
delicate fruit preserves ranked higher than the common 
dryer of dates. 3 If one had held a post in the royal house- 
hold, however low the occupation, it was something to be proud 
of all one's life, and after death to boast of in one's epitaph. 

The chiefs to whom this army of servants ren- 
dered obedience, at times rose from the ranks ; 4 
on some occasion their master had noticed 
them in the crowd, and had transferred them, 
some by a single promotion, others by slow 
degrees, to the highest offices of the state. 
Many among them, however, belonged to 
old families, and held positions in the 
palace which their fathers and grand- 
fathers had occupied before them, some were 
members of the provincial nobility, distant 
descendants of former royal princes and 
princesses, more or less nearly related to the reigning sovereign. 6 They had 
been sought out to be the companions of his education and of his pastimes, while 
he was still living an obscure life in the " House of the Children ; " he had 

out to them every day as funerary offerings (DCmichen, Besultate, vol. i. pl. vii. ; E. and J. de Rougé, 
Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques, pl. iii. ; Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 279, 414). 

1 Cf. on this point the Conte de Khou/oui (Maspero, Les Contes populaires, 2nd edit., p. 76) and 
that of Siuûhît (id., p. 128). The register of a queen of the XI th dynasty (Mariette, Papyrus du 
Musée de Boulaq, vol. ii. pis. xiv.-lv.) contains a list of expenses of this kind (L. Borchardt, Ein 
llechnungsbuch des Eoniglichen Hofes, in the Zeitschrift, vol. xxviii. p. 68, et seq.). Sabû was granted 
the right of replenishing his stores at the royal expense during his travels (E. de Rougé, Recherches 
sur les monuments, pp. 112, 113). 

2 E.g. the peasant whose story is told us in the Berlin Papyrus n" 2 (Maspero, Les Contes populaires, 
2nd edit., p. 48) ; the king made him an allowance of a loaf and two pots of beer per day. 

3 See the list of persons, in hierarchical order, on the second page of the Rood Papyrus (Maspero, 
Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 10, 11, 61, 63 ; of. Brugsch, Die Mgyptologie, pp. 219-221). 

4 M. de Rougé believes this to have been so in the case of Ti, whose tomb is still famous 
(Recherches sur les monuments, p. 96), and in the case of Snozmûhît, surnamed Mihi (id., pp. 103, 104). 

5 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey ; the original is at Gizeh. 

6 It was the former who, I believe, formed the class of rokhû sûton so often mentioned on the 
monuments. This title is generally supposed to have been a mark of relationship with the royal 
family (Erman, Mgypten, p. 118). M. de Rougé proved long ago that this was not so (Becherches, 
p. 90), and that functionaries might bear this title even though they were not blood relations of the 




grown up with them and had kept them about his person as his " sole friends " 
and counsellors. 1 He lavished titles and offices upon them by the dozen, accord- 
ing to the confidence he felt in their capacity or to the amount of faithfulness 
with which he credited them. A few of the most favoured were called " Masters 
of the Secret of the Royal House ; " they knew all the innermost recesses of 
the palace, all the passwords needed in going from one part of it to another, 
the place where the royal treasures were kept, and the modes of access to it. 2 
Several of them were " Masters of the Secret of all the Royal Words," and had 
authority over the high courtiers of the palace, which gave them the power of 
banishing whom they pleased from the person of the sovereign. 3 Upon others 
devolved the task of arranging his amusements ; they rejoiced the heart of his 
Majesty by pleasant songs, 4 while the chiefs of the sailors and soldiers kept 
watch over his safety. 5 To these active services were attached honorary privi- 
leges which were highly esteemed, such as the right to retain their sandals in 
the palace, while the general crowd of courtiers could only enter unshod ; that 
of kissing the knees and not the feet of the " good god," 7 and that of wearing the 
panther's skin. 8 Among those who enjoyed these distinctions were the physicians 
of the king, 9 chaplains, and men of the roll — "kkri-habi." The latter did not 
confine themselves to the task of guiding Pharaoh through the intricacies of 
ritual, nor to that of prompting him with the necessary formula) needed to make 
the sacrifice efficacious ; they were styled " Masters of the Secrets of Heaven," 
those who see what is in the firmament, on the earth and in Hades, those who 
know all the charms of the soothsayers, prophets, or magicians. 10 The laws 

Pharaohs. It seems to mc to havo been used to indicate a class of courtiers whom the king 
condescended to "know" (rolchû) directly, without the intermediary of a chamberlain, the "persons 
known by the king ; " Ihe others were only his " friends " (samiru). 

1 This was so in the case of Shopsisûphtah (E. de Rougis, Recherches sur les monuments, p. G6) and of 
Khontemsete (Ebman, JEgypten, p. 118). Under a king of the X th dynasty, Khîti, Prince of Siût, recalled 
■with pride the fact that ho had been brought up in the palace, and had learnt to swim with the children of 
the king (Mariette, Monuments divers, pl. lxix. d ; E. and J. de Rougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques, pl. 
eclxxxix. ; Griffith, The Inscriptions of Siût and Dêr Rifeh, pl. xv. 1. 23). Cf. Lefébure, Sur différents 
mots et noms Égyptiens, in the Froceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 1890-91, pp. 166-463. 

s Api (Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 96), and many others. To translate the title as " Royal Secretary " 
is too literal and too narrow a rendering, as shown by E. de Rougé {Recherches sur les monuments, p. 69). 

3 For example, Ûsirnûtir (Mariette, Les Mastabas de V Ancien Empire, pp. 173, 174). Ankhûmâka 
id., pp. 217, 218) ; Kai combined this title with that of " Director of the Arsenal " {id., pp. 228, 229). 

4 Râmiriphtah (Mariette, Les Mastabas, pp. 154, 155), Rânikaû (id., p. 313), Snofrùinofir (id., 
pp. 395-398), whom I have already had occasion to mention in connection with the lady Ràlionem, 
on p. 278, note 7. 

5 Prince Assiônkhû held a command in the infantry and in the flotilla of the Nile (Mariette, 
Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 191) ; so did Ji (id., p. 162) and Kamtiniuît (id., p. 188). 

fl This was the favour obtained by Uni from Pharaoh Mirirî-Papi I., according to E. de Rouge' 
(Recherches sur les monuments, p. 128), whose explanation seems to me an excellent one. 
' Shopsisûphtah received this favour (E. de Rougé, Recherches, p. 68). 

8 This is the meaning which I assign to the somewhat rare title of Oil û bûsît, " Grandee of the 
Panther's Skin," borne, among others, by Zaûfiû (Mariette, Les MaUabas, pp. 252-254) and 
Rakapû (id., pp. 275, 278). See also p. 53, note 8, of this volume. 

» Api (Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 96) and Sokhîtniônkhù (id., pp. 202-205) were Pharaoh's 
ph ysicians. 

,0 The most complete form of their title which, up to the present, I have been able to find under 


relating to the government of the seasons and the stars presented no mysteries 
to them, neither were they ignorant of the months, days, or hours propitious 
to the undertakings of everyday life or the starting out on an expedition, 
nor of those times during which any action was dangerous. They drew their 
inspirations from the books of magic written by Thot, which taught them the 
art of interpreting dreams or of curing the sick, or of invoking and obliging 
the gods to assist them, and of arresting or hasteniug the progress of the sun 
on the celestial ocean. 1 Some are mentioned as being able to divide the waters 
at their will, and to cause them to return to their natural place, merely by 
means of a short formula. 2 An image of a man or animal made by them out 
of enchanted wax, was imbued with life at their command, and became an 
irresistible instrument of their wrath. 3 Popular stories reveal them to us at 
work. " Is it true," said Kheops to one of them, " that thou canst replace a head 
which has been cut off? " On his admitting that he could do so, Pharaoh 
immediately desired to test his power. " Bring me a prisoner from prison and 
let him be slain." The magician, at this proposal, exclaimed : " Nay, nay, not 
a man, sire my master ; do not command that this sin should be committed ; a 
fine animal will suffice ! " A goose was brought, " its head was cut off and the 
body was placed on the right side, and the head of the goose on the left side 
of the hall : he recited what he recited from his book of magic, the goose began 
to hop forward, the head moved on to it, and, when both were united, 
the goose began to cackle. A pelican was produced, and underwent the 
same process. His Majesty then caused a bull to be brought forward, and its 
head was smitten to the ground : the magician recited what he recited from 
his book of magic, the bull at once arose, and he replaced on it what had fallen 
to the earth." 4 The great lords themselves deigned to become initiated into 
the occult sciences, and were invested with these formidable powers. A prince 
who practised magic would enjoy amongst us nowadays but small esteem : in 
Egypt sorcery was not considered incompatible with royalty, and the magicians 
of Pharaoh often took Pharaoh himself as their pupil. 5 

the Ancient Empire, is on the Tomb of Tenti (Mariette, Les Mastabas, p. 149); this personage was 
" a chief man of the roll . . . superior of the secrets of heaven, who sees the secret of heaven." Cf. 
p. 127 of the present work. 

1 See the story of Satni-Khâmoîs (Maspero, Les Contes populaires de l'Egypte Ancienne, 2nd edit., 
p. 175) for a description of the virtues attributed to one of the books of Thot. 

2 The " man of the roll " Zazamônkh, in the story of Khûfûi (Maspero, Les Contes populaires de 
l'Egypte Ancienne, 2nd edit., p. 67), performs this miracle in order to enable a lady who was in the 
royal barge to recover a jewel which she had accidentally dropped into the waters of the lake. 

3 The "man of the roll" Ûbaû-Anir, in the story of Khûfûi(MASPERO, Les Contes populaires de l'Egypte 
Ancienne, 2nd edit., pp. 60-63), models and calls into life a crocodile who carries off his wife's lover to 
the bottom of the river. In the story of Satni Khâmoîs (id., pp. 180, 181), Satui constructs a vessel 
and its crew, imbues the latter with life, and sends them off in search of the magic book of Thot. 

* Erman, Die Màrchen des Papyrus Westcar, pi. viii. 11. 12-26 ; cf. Maspero, Contes populaires, p. 73. 

4 We know the reputation, extending even to the classical writers of antiquity, of the Pharaohs 
Nechepso and Nectanebo for their skill in magic. Arab writers have, moreover, collected a number of 
traditions concerning the marvels which the sorcerers of Egypt were in the habit of performing ; as an 



Such were the king's household, the people about his person, and those 
attached to the service of his family. His capital sheltered a still greater num- 
ber of officials and functionaries who were charged with the administration of his 
fortune — that is to say, what he possessed in Egypt. 1 In theory it was always 
supposed that the whole of the soil belonged to him, but that he and his pre- 
decessors had diverted and parcelled off such an amount of it for the benefit of 
their favourites, or for the hereditary lords, that only half of the actual terri- 
tory remained under his immediate control. He governed most of the nomes 
of the Delta in person : 2 beyond the Fayùm, he merely retained isolated lands, 
enclosed in the middle of feudal principalities and often at considerable distance 
from each other. The extent of the royal domain varied with different 
dynasties, and even from reign to reign : if it sometimes decreased, owing to 
too frequently repeated concessions, 3 its losses were generally amply compen- 
sated by the confiscation of certain fiefs, or by their lapsing to the crown. 
The domain was always of sufficient extent to oblige the Pharaoh to confide 
the larger portion of it to officials of various kinds, and to farm merely a 
small remainder by means of the " royal slaves : " 4 in the latter case, he 
reserved for himself all the profits, but at the expense of all the annoyance and 
all the outlay ; in the former case, he obtained without any risk the annual 
dues, the amount of which was fixed on the spot, according to the resources of 
the nome. In order to understand the manner in which the government of 
Egypt was conducted, we should never forget that the world was still ignorant 
of the use of money, and that gold, silver, and copper, however abundant we 
may suppose them to have been, were mere articles of exchange, like the most 
common products of Egyptian soil. Pharaoh was not then, as the State is 
with us, a treasurer who calculates the total of his receipts and expenses in 
ready money, banks his revenue in specie occupying but little space, and settles 

instance, I may quote the description given by Makrîzî of one of their meetings, which is probably 
taken from some earlier writer (Malan, A Short Story of the Copts and of their Church, pp. 13, 14). 

1 They were frequently distinguished from their provincial or manorial colleagues by the addition 
of the word khonû to their titles, a term which indicates, in a general manuer, the royal residence. 
They formed what we should nowadays call the departmental staff of the public officers, and might 
be deputed to act, at least temporarily, in the provinces, or in the service of one of the feudal princes, 
without thereby losing their status as functionaries of the khonû or central administration. 

2 This seems, at any rate, an obvious inference from the almost total absence of feudal titles on the 
most ancient monuments of the Delta. Erman, who was struck by this fact, attributed it to a different 
degree of civilization in the two halves of Egypt (JEgypten und JEgyptisches Leben im Altertum, p. 
128 ; cf. Ed. Meyer, Geschichie JEgyptens, p. 46) ; I attribute it to a difference in government. 
Feudal titles naturally predominate in the South, royal administrative titles in the North. 

3 We find, at different periods, persons who call themselves masters of new domains or strongholds — 
Pahûrnofir, under the III rd dynasty (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 259); several princes of 
Hermopolis, under the VI"' and YlI th (LEPSius, Denkm., ii. 112 b, c); Khnûmhotpû at the beginning of the 
XII" 1 (Grande Inscription de Béni- Hassan, 1. 69). In connection with the last named, we shall have 
occasion, later on, to show Ln what manner and with what rapidity one of these great new fiefs was formed. 

4 Lepsitjs, Denkm., ii. 107, where we find the " royal slaves " working at the harvest in conjunction 
with the serfs attached to the tomb of Khunas, prince of the Gazelle nome, under a king of the VI" 1 


his accounts from the same source. His fiscal receipts were in kind, and it was 
in kind that he remunerated his servants for their labour : cattle, cereals, fer- 
mented drinks, oils, stuffs, common or precious metals, — " all that the heavens 
give, all that the earth produces, all that the Nile brings from its mysterious 
sources," 1 — constituted the coinage in which his subjects paid him their con- 
tributions, and which he passed on to his vassals by way of salary. One room, 
a few feet square, and, if need be, one safe, would easily contain the entire 
revenue of one of our modern empires : the largest of our emporiums would not 
always have sufficed to hold the mass of incongruous objects which represented 
the returns of a single Egyptian province. As the products in which the tax 
was paid took various forms, it was necessary to have an infinite variety of 
special agents and suitable places to receive it ; herdsmen and sheds for the 
oxen, measurers and granaries for the grain, butlers and cellarers for the wine> 
beer, and oils. The product of the tax, while awaiting redistribution, could 
only be kept from deteriorating in value by incessant labour, in which a score 
of different classes of clerks and workmen in the service of the treasury all took 
part, according to their trades. If the tax were received in oxen, it was 
led to pasturage, or at times, when a murrain threatened to destroy- it, to the 
slaughter-house and the currier ; if it were in corn, it was bolted, ground to flour, 
and made into bread and pastry ; if it were in stuffs, it was washed, ironed, and 
folded, to be retailed as garments or in the piece. The royal treasury partook 
of the character of the farm, the warehouse, and the manufactory. 

Each of the departments which helped to swell its contents, occupied within 
the palace enclosure a building, or group of buildings, which was called its 
" house," or, as we should say, its storehouse. 2 There was the " White Store- 
house," where the stuffs and jewels were kept, and at times the wine ; 8 the 
" Storehouse of the Oxen," 4 the " Gold Storehouse," 5 the " Storehouse for 
Preserved Fruits," 6 the " Storehouse for Grain," 7 the " Storehouse for Liquors," 8 

1 This was the most usual formula for the offering on the funerary stela}, and sums up more com- 
pletely than any other the nature of the tax paid to the gods by the living, and consequently the 
nature of that paid to the king ; here, as elsewhere, the domain of the gods is modelled on that 
of the Pharaohs. 

2 Pirû, Pi : this is an employment of the word similar to that of Dâr, which was in use among 
the Fatimite Caliphs and the Mameluke Sultans of Egypt in the Middle Ages. The Dab suc- 
ceeded without interruption the Pi and the AÎT, of which we shall hear more later on (Maspeeo, 
Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 126, et seq.). 

3 Pi-hazû, in Maspero, Etudes Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 249, 250. It derived its name from the fact 
that its exterior was painted white, as is usual with most of the public buildings of modern Egypt. 

* This is the Pi-eheû, which we meet everywhere from the XII th and XIII th dynasties onwards. 

5 Pi-nûbû, in E. de Eougé, Recherches, p. 104 ; cf. Mariette, Les Mastabas, pp. 254, 355, 502, etc. 

6 Pi-ashdû, of which the meaning was recognized by Dùmichen, Betultate, vol. i. pl. vii. ; cf. 
E. and J. de Eougé, Inscriptions Hiéroglyphiques recueilles en Égypte, pl. iii. ; Mariette, Les Mastabas 
de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 279, 414. 

' Pa-habû, Beugsch, Dictionnaire Hiéroglyphique et Lémotique Supplement, pp. 749, 750, s. v. Art. 
6 Pi-arpû (?) " The Wine Storehouse," possibly that mentioned by Mariette, Les Mastabas de 
l'Ancien Empire, p. 306. 



and ten other storehouses of the application of which we are not always sure. 1 
In the "Storehouse of Weapons" (or Armoury) 2 were ranged thousands of 
clubs, maces, pikes, daggers, bows, and bundles of arrows, which Pharaoh dis- 
tributed to his recruits whenever a war forced him to call out his army, and 
which were again 
warehoused after the 
campaign. 3 The 
" storehouses " were 
further subdivided 
into rooms or store- 
chambers, 4 each re- 
served for its own 
category of objects. 
It would be difficult 
to enumerate thenum- 
ber of store-chambers 
in the outbuildings of the "Storehouse of Provisions" — store-chambers for 
butcher's meat, for fruits, for beer, bread, and wine, in which were deposited as 
much of each article of food as would be required by the court for some days, 
or at most for a few weeks. They were brought there from the larger store- 
houses, the wines from vaults, 6 the oxen from their stalls, 7 the corn from the 
granaries. 8 The latter were vast brick-built receptacles, ten or more in a row, 
circular in shape and surmounted by cupolas, but having no communication 
with each other. They had only two openings, one at the top for pouring in 
the grain, another on the ground level for drawing it out ; a notice posted up 
outside, often on the shutter which closed the chamber, indicated the character 

1 For example, the Pi-Âzû (?) (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 258, 259), possibly the 
tallow storehouse. 

2 Pi-ahûû, the Khaznat-ed-daralc of the Egyptian caliphs (E. de Bougé, Ilecherehes sur les monu- 
ments, pp. 91, 101, 104; Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 217, 218, 228, 259, 296, etc.). 

3 At Medinet-Habû wc see the distribution of arms to the soldiers of Bamses III. (Champollion, 
Monuments, pi. cexviii. ; Eosellini, Mon. Eeali, pi. exxv.) ; a similar operation seems to be referred 
to in a passage in the Ûni inscription which records the raising of an army under the VI th dynasty. 

4 Ait, ÂÎ. Lefe'bure has collected a number of passages in which these storehouses are mentioned, 
in his notes Sur différents mots et noms Égyptiens (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 
1890-91, p. 447, et seq.). In many of the cases which he quotes, and in which he recognizes an office 
of the State, I believe reference to be made to a trade: many of the ari âît-afû, "people of the 
store-chambers for meat," were probably butchers ; many of the ari âît-hiqîtû, " people of the store- 
chamber for beer," were probably keepers of drink-shops, trading on their own account in the town 
of Abydos, and not employe's attached to the exchequer of Pharaoh or of the ruler of Thinis. 

5 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a chromolithograph in Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 96. 

6 Asûi, a word which was used to denote warehouses (usually vaulted and built in pairs) in which 
articles of a heterogeneous nature were stored (Mariette, Les Mastabas, pp. 125, 223, 230, 243, etc.). 

7 The term Ahû, which later on came to be used of horses as well as oxen, has not, so far as 
I know, yet been met with on any of the monuments of the Ancient Empire. 

8 Shondîti, which, in the form " shûneh," has passed into use among the French-speaking peoples of 
the Levant through the Arabic. For a representation of the storehouses for grain and fruit of the Meni- 
phite epoch, see Maspero, Quatre Anne'es de Fouilles, in the Me'moires de la Mission Française, vol. i. pi. iii. 



and quantity of the cereals within. For the security and management of these, 
there were employed troops of porters, store-keepers, accountants, " primates " 
who superintended the works, 1 record-keepers, and directors. 2 Great nobles 
coveted the administration of the " storehouses," and even the sons of kings 
did not think it derogatory to their dignity to be entitled " Directors of 
the Granaries," or " Directors of the Armoury." There was no law against 
pluralists, and more than one of them boasts on his tomb of having held 

characterized the person of the Pharaoh. They would be called in common 
parlance, the Storehouse or the Double White Storehouse, the Storehouse or the 
Double Gold Storehouse, the Double Warehouse, the Double Granary. The 
large towns, as well as the capital, possessed their double storehouses and their 
store-chambers, into which were gathered the products of the neighbourhood, 
but where a complete staff of employés was not always required : in such towns 
we meet with " localities " 5 in which the commodities were housed merely 
temporarily. The least perishable part of the provincial dues was forwarded 
by boat to the royal residence, 6 and swelled the central treasury. The remain- 
der was used on the spot for paying workman's wages, and for the needs of the 

1 Khoepûû; the word "primate" is aliterai translation of trie Egyptian term; for tbe special 
class of functions which it is used to indicate, cf. Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 181, 182. 

2 Mieû is translated with sufficient exactness by the word " director " (Maspero, Études 
Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 181, 182). 

3 To mention only a single instance, Kai combined the office of director of the high court of 
the palace with that of director of the double granary, of "the double white house," of six large 
storehouses, and three different vaults (Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 125). 

4 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a scene on the tomb of Amoni at Beni-Hasan ; cf. Rosellini, 
Monumenti Civili, pi. xxxiv. 2; Griffith-Newberry, Beni-Basan, vol. i. pi. xiii. On the right, near 
the door, is a heap of grain, from which the measurer fills his measure in order to empty it into the 
sack which one of the porters holds open. In the centre is a train of slaves ascending the stairs which 
lead to the loft above the granaries ; one of them empties his sack into a hole above the granary in 
the presence of the overseer. The inscriptions in ink on the outer wall of the receptacles, which 
have already been filled, indicate the number of measures which each one of them contains. 

5 Isîtû we may translate "localities" for want of a better word (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, 
vol. ii. p. 128, et seq.). 

c The boats employed for this purpose formed a flotilla, and their cemmanders constituted a 
regularly organized transport corps, who are frequently to be found represented on the monu- 
ments of the New Empire, carrying tribute to the residence of the king or of the prince, whose 
retainers they were. An excellent example may be seen on the tomb of Pihiri, at El-Kab 

simultaneously five or six offices. 3 
These storehouses participated, 
like all the other dependencies 
of the crown, in that duality which 


measuring the wheat and depositing it in the granaries. 4 


Administration. We see from the inscriptions, that the staffs of officials who 
administered affairs in the provinces was similar to that in the royal city. 
Starting from the top, and going down to the bottom of the scale, each func- 
tionary supervised those beneath him, while, as a body, they were all respon- 
sible for their depot. Any irregularity in the entries entailed the bastinado ; 


peculators were punished by imprisonment, mutilation, or death, according to 
the gravity of the offence. Those whom illness or old age rendered unfit for 
work, were pensioned for the remainder of their life. 2 

The writer, 3 or, as we call him, the scribe, was the mainspring of all this 

(Champollion, Monuments de VÉgypte et de la Nubie, pl. cxli. ; Kosellini, Monumenti Civili, pl. ex. 
1, 2; Lepsius, Denlm., iii. 11 a). 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Lepsius, Denlcm., iii. 95. The illustration is taken from one 
ot the tombs at Tel el-Amarna. The storehouse consists of four blocks, isolated by two avenues 
planted with trees, which intersect each other in the form of a cross. Behind the entrance gate, in 
a small courtyard, is a kiosque, in which the master sat for the purpose of receiving the stores or of 
superintending their distribution ; two of the arms of the cross are lined by porticoes, under which 
are the entrances to the " chambers " (ait) for the stores, which are filled with jars of wine, linen- 
chests, dried fish, and other articles. 

2 For an instance of an employe' pensioned off on account of infirmities, see the Anastasi Papyrus, 
No. iv., under the XIX th dynasty (Maspeeo, Notes au jour le jour, § 8, in the Proceedings, 1890-91, 
pp. 423-426). 

3 Sashai was the common title of the ordinary scribe ; ânû seems to have been used only of 
scribes of high rank, at any rate under the Memphite empire, if we are to credit E. de Eougé 



machinery. We come across him in all grades of the staff: an insignificant 
registrar of oxen, a clerk of the Double White Storehouse, ragged, humble, and 
badly paid, was a scribe just as much as the noble, the priest, or the king's son. 1 
Thus the title of scribe was of no value in itself, and did not designate, as one 
might naturally think, a savant educated in a school of high culture, or a man 
of the world, versed in the sciences and the literature of his time; 2 every one 
was a scribe who knew how to read, write, and cipher, was fairly proficient in 
wording the administrative formulas, and could easily apply the elementary 
rules of book-keeping. There was no public school in which the scribe could 
be prepared for his future career ; but as soon as a child had acquired the first 
rudiments of letters with some old pedagogue, his father took him with him to 
his office, or entrusted him to some friend who agreed to undertake his educa- 
tion. The apprentice observed what went on around him, imitated the mode 
of procedure of the employés, copied in his spare time old papers, letters, bills, 
flowerily-worded petitions, reports, complimentary addresses to his superiors or 
to the Pharaoh, all of which his patron examined and corrected, noting on the 
margin letters or words imperfectly written, improving the style, and recasting 
or completing the incorrect expressions. 8 As soon as he could put together a 
certain number of sentences or figures without a mistake, he was allowed to 
draw up bills, or to have the sole superintendence of some department of the 
treasury, his work being gradually increased in amount and difficulty ; when 
he was considered to be sufficiently au courant with the ordinary business, his 
education was declared to be finished, and a situation was found for him either 
in the place where he had begun his probation, or in some neighbouring office. 4 

(Cours du College de France, 1869) ; Liter on this distinction was less observed, and the word ânu 
disappeared before salchû (salch derived from sashai). 

1 The three sons of Kâfrîônkhû, grandchildren of the king, are represented exercising their 
functions as scribes in the presence of their father, their tablets in the left hand, the reed behind 
the ear (Lepsius, Denltm., ii. 11): similarly the eldest son of Ankhaftuka, "friend, commanding the 
palace" under the first, kings of the V th dynasty (Mahiette, Les Mastabas, pp. 305-309); so, too 
the brother of Tapûmonkhû (id., p. 193), and several of the sons of Sakhemphtah (id., p. 253), about 
the same period. 

2 This is the type which we find most frequently represented in modern works on Egypt, in the 
romance of G. Ebers, for instance, e.g. the Pentaur and the Nefersekhet of Uarda ; it is also the type 
most easily realized from a study of the literary papyri of the XIX th and XX th dynasties, in which 
the profession of scribe is exalted at the expense of other professions (cf. the panegyric of the 
scribe in the Anastasi Papyrus, No. i., pis. i.-xiii, ; Chabas, Le Voyage d'un Egyptien, pp. 31-47). 

3 We still possess school exercises of the XIX th and XX th dynasties, e.g. the Papyrus Anastasin" IV., 
and the Anastasi Papyrus n° V., in which we find a whole string of pieces of every possible style and 
description — business letters, requests for leave of absence, complimentary verses addressed to a 
superior, all probably a collection of exercises compiled by some professor, and copied by his pupils 
in order to complete their education as scribes ; the master's corrections are made at the top and 
bottom of the pages in a bold and skilful hand, very different from that of the pupil, though the 
writing of the latter is generally more legible to our modern eyes (Select Papyri, vol. i. pis. lxxxiii.- 

4 Evidence of this state of things seems to be furnished by all the biographies of scribes with which 
we are acquainted, e.g. that of Amten ; it is, moreover, what took place regularly throughout the whole 
of Egypt, down to the latest times, and what probably still occurs in those parts of the country where Euro- 
pean ideas have not yet made any deep impression (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 123-126). 


Thus equipped, the young man ended usually by succeeding his father or his 
patron : in most of the government administrations, we find whole dynasties of 
scribes on a small scale, whose members inherited the same post for several 
centuries. 1 The position was an insignificant one, and the salary poor, but the 
means of existence were assured, the occupant was exempted from forced labour 
and from military service, and he exercised a certain authority in the narrow 


world in which he lived : it sufficed to make him think himself happy, and 
in fact to be so. " One has only to be a scribe," said the wise man, " for the 
scribe takes the lead of all." 3 Sometimes, however, one of these contented 
officials, more intelligent or ambitious than his fellows, succeeded in rising 
above the common mediocrity : his fine handwriting, the happy choice of his 
sentences, his activity, his obliging manner, his honesty — perhaps also his 
discreet dishonesty — attracted the attention of his superiors and were the cause 
of his promotion. The son of a peasant or of some poor wretch, who had begun 

1 This statement may be easily verified by a reference to Mabiette's Catalogue général des Monu- 
ments d'Abydos. The number of instances would be still larger, had not Mariette, in order to keep 
tho size of his book within limits, suppressed the titles and functions of the majority of the persons 
who are mentioned by the dozen on tho votive stelae in the Gîzeh Museum. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a wall-painting on the tomb of Khûnas (cf. Eosellini, Monu- 
menti Civili, pi. xxxv. 4 ; Lepsius, Denkm., ii. 107). Two scribes are writing on tablets. Before the 
scribe in the upper part of the picture we see a palette, with two saucers, on a vessel which serves 
as an ink-bottle, and a packet of tablets tied together, the whole supported by a bundle of archives. 
The scribe in the lower part rests his tablet against an ink-bottle, a box for archives being placed 
before him. Behind them a nakht-lihrôâ announces the delivery of a tablet covered with figures 
which the third scribe is presenting to the master. 

s This is the refrain which occurs constantly in all the exercises for style given to scholars under 
the New Empire (Maspero, Du Genre Épistolaire, pp. 28, 35, 38, 40, 49, 50, 66, 72, etc.). 




life by keeping a register of the bread and vegetables in some provincial 
government office, had been often known to crown his long and successful 
career by exercising a kind of vice-regency over the half of Egypt. His 
granaries overflowed with corn, his storehouses were always full of gold, 
fine stuffs, and precious vases, his stalls " multiplied the backs " of his oxen ; 1 
the sons of his early patrons, having now become in turn his protégés, did 
not venture to approach him except with bowed head and bended knee. 

No doubt the Amten whose tomb was removed to Berlin by Lepsius, and 


put together piece by piece in the museum, was a parvenu of this kind. 3 
He was born rather more than four thousand years before our era, under 
one of the last kings of the III rd dynasty, and he lived until the reign 
of the first king of the IV th dynasty, Snofrûi. He probably came from 
the Nome of the Bull, if not from Xoïs itself, in the heart of the Delta. 
His father, the scribe Anûpûmonkhû, held, in addition to his office, several 
landed estates, producing large returns ; but his mother, Nibsonît, who 
appears to bave been merely a concubine, had no personal fortune, and 
would have been unable even to give her child an education. Anûpûmonkhû 
made himself entirely responsible for the necessary expenses, " giving him 
all the necessities of life, àt a time when he had not as yet either corn, 
barley, income, house, men or women servants, or troops of asses, pigs, 
or oxen." 4 As soon as he was in a condition to provide for himself, his 

1 The expression is borrowed from one of the letters in the Anastasi Papyrus, No. iv., pl. ix. 1. 1. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a picture in the tomb of Shopsisûrî (Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 63). 
The nakht-Jclirôû, the crier, is on the spectator's left; four registrars of the funerary temple of Ûsirnirî 
advance in a crawling posture towards the master, the fifth has just risen and holds himself in a 
stooping attitude, while an usher introduces him and transmits to him an order to send in his accounts. 

3 It has been published in Lepsius, Derikm., ii. 4-7. Its texts have been analysed in a more or 
less summary fashion by E. de Bougé, Recherches sur les monuments, pp. 39, 40 ; by Birch, in Bunsen, 
Egypt's Place, vol. v. pp. 723, 724; by Pierbet, Explication des Monuments de V Egypte, pp. 9-11 ; by 
Erman, Mgypten, pp. 126-128 ; they have been translated and commented on by Maspero, La 
Carrière administrative de deux hauts fonctionnaires égyptiens, in the Etudes Égyptiennes, vol. ii. 
pp. 113-272. It is from this last source that I have borrowed, in a condensed form, the principal 
features in the biography of Amten. 

' Lepsius, Denkm., ii. 5, 1. 1 ; cf. Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 120, et seq. 


father obtained for him, in his native Nome, the post of chief scribe attached 


to one of the " localities " which belonged to the Administration of Provisions. 
On behalf of the Pharaoh, the young man received, registered, and distributed 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 3. Amten is portrayed standing upright 
in the recess and on the doorposts of the false door, as well as on the wall; to right and left lie 
bears a mace and a long staff in his hands ; on the right a slave serves the funeral banquet ; on the 
left a jerboa, a hare, a porcupine, a weasel, and another quadruped of undecided shape represent the 



the meat, cakes, fruits, and fresh vegetables which constituted the taxes, all on 
his own responsibility, except that he had to give an account of them to the 
" Director of the Storehouse " who was nearest to hi in. We are not told how 
long he remained in this occupation ; we see merely that he was raised suc- 
cessively to posts of an analogous kind, but of increasing importance. The 
provincial offices comprised a small staff of employés, consisting always of the 
same officials : — a chief, whose ordinary function was " Director of the Store- 
house ; " a few scribes to keep the accounts, one or two of whom added to his 
ordinary calling that of keeper of the archives ; paid ushers to introduce 
clients, and, if need be, to bastinado them summarily at the order of the 
" director ; " lastly, the " strong of voice," the criers, who superintended the 
incomings and outgoings, and proclaimed the account of them to the scribes 
to be noted down forthwith. 1 A vigilant and honest crier was a man 
of great value. He obliged the taxpayer not only to deliver the exact 
number of measures prescribed as his quota, but also compelled him to 
deliver good measure in each CliSG y Si dishonest crier, on the contrary, could 
easily favour cheating, provided that he shared in the spoil. Amten was 
at once " crier " and " taxer of the colonists " to the civil administrator 
of the Xoïte nome : he announced the names of the peasants and the 
payments they made, then estimated the amount of the local tax which 
each, according to his income, had to pay. He distinguished himself so 
pre-eminently in these delicate duties, that the civil administrator of Xoi's 
made him one of his subordinates. He becàme " Chief of the Ushers," 
afterwards " Master Crier," then " Director of all the King's flax " in the Xoïte 
nome — an office which entailed on him the supervision of the culture, 
cutting, and general preparation of flax for the manufacture which was 
carried on in Pharaoh's own domain. It was one of the highest offices 
in the Provincial Administration, and Amten must have congratulated himself 
on his appointment. 

From that moment his career became a great one, and he advanced quickly. 
Up to that time he had been confined in offices ; he now left them to perform 
more active service. The Pharaohs, extremely jealous of their own authority, 
usually avoided placing at the head of the nomes in their domain, a single 

animals which he was wont to pursue in the Libyan desert in his capacity of Grand Huntsman. In 
the upper part of the picture he is seated, and once more partakes of the funeral repast. The lengthy 
inscription in short columns, which occupies the upper part of the wall, enumerates his principal 
titles, his estates in the Delta, and mentions some of the honours conferred on him by his sovereign 
in the course of his long career. 

' With regard to these criers— called in Egyptian nalilit-lchrôâ—see Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, 
vol. ii. pp. 135, 139. Kepresentations of Offices will be found in the tomb of Shopsisûrû, at Saqqâra 
(Lepsius, Denkm., ii., 62, 63, 64), in the tomb of Phtahhotpu (id., pi. 103 a), and in several others 
(id., pi. 71 a, 74, etc.) ; cf. an administrative office in the nome of the Gazelle, under the VI th dynasty, 
p. 289 of the present work. 



ruler, who would have appeared too much like a prince ; they preferred having 
in each centre of civil administration, governors of the town or province, 
as well as military commanders who were jealous of one another, supervised 
one another, counterbalanced one another, and did not remain long enougli 
in office to become dangerous. Amten held all these posts successively 
in most of the nomes situated in the centre or to the west of the Delta. 
His first appointment was to the government of the village 
of Pidosû, an unimportant post in itself, but one which 
entitled him to a staff of office, and in consequence pro- 
cured for him one of the greatest indulgences of vanity 
that an Egyptian could enjoy. 1 The staff was, in fact, a 
symbol of command which only the nobles, and the 
officials associated with the nobility, could carry 
without transgressing custom ; the assumption of it, 
as that of the sword with us, showed every one that 
the bearer was a member of a privileged class, i 
Amten was no sooner ennobled, than his functions 
began to extend ; villages were rapidly added 
to villages, then towns to towns, including 
such an important one as Bûto, and finally 
the nomes of the Harpoon, of the Bull, of 
the Silurus, the western half of the Saïte 
nome, the nome of the Haunch, and a part 
of the Fayûm came within his jurisdiction. 
The western half of the Saïte nome, where 
he long resided, corresponded with what 
was called later the Libyan nome. It 
reached nearly from the apex of the Delta 
to the sea, and was bounded on one side by the Canopic branch of the Nile, 
on the other by the Libyan range ; a part of the desert as well as the Oases 
fell under its rule. It included among its population, as did many of the 
provinces of Upper Egypt, regiments composed of nomad hunters, who were 
compelled to pay their tribute in living or dead game. Amten was 
metamorphosed into Chief Huntsman, scoured the mountains with his 
men, and thereupon became one of the most important personages in the 
defence of the country. The Pharaohs had built fortified stations, and had 
from time to time constructed walls at certain points where the roads entered 
the valley — at Syene, at Ooptos, and at the entrance to the Wady Tûmilât. 

1 Maspero, Etudes Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 165, 166. 

« Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Lepsius, Benhm., ii. 120 a ; the original is in the Berlin Museum. 




Amten having been proclaimed " Primate of the Western Gate," that is, 
governor of the Libyan marches, undertook to protect the frontier against 
the wandering Bedouin from the other side of Lake Mareotis. His duties 
as Chief Huntsman had been the best preparation he could have had for this 
arduous task. They had forced him to make incessant expeditions among 
the mountains, to explore the gorges and ravines, to be acquainted with 
the routes marked out by wells which the marauders were obliged to follow 
in their incursions, and the pathways and passes by which they could 
descend into the plain of the Delta ; in running the game to earth, he 
had gained all the knowledge needful for repulsing the enemy. 1 Such 
a combination of capabilities made Amten the most important noble in this 
part of Egypt. "When old age at last prevented him from leading an 
active life, he accepted, by way of a pension, the governorship of the nome 
of the Haunch : with civil authority, military command, local priestly 
functions, and honorary distinctions, he lacked only one thing to make him 
the equal of the nobles of ancient family, and that was permission to bequeath 
without restriction his towns and offices to his children. 

His private fortune was not as great as we might be led to think. 
He inherited from his father only one estate, 2 but had acquired twelve others 
in the nomes of the Delta whither his successive appointments had led him 
— namely, in the Sai'te, Xoi'te, and Letopolite nomes. 3 He received subse- 
quently, as a reward for his services, two hundred portions of cultivated 
land, with numerous peasants, both male and- female, and an income of 
one hundred loaves daily, a first charge upon the funeral provision of 
Queen Hâpûnimâit. 4 He took advantage of «his windfall to endow hi& 
family suitably. His only son was already provided for, thanks to the 
munificence of Pharaoh; he had begun his administrative career by holding 
the same post of scribe, in addition to the office of provision registrar, 
which his father had held, and over and above these he received by royal 
grant, four portions of cornland with their population and stock. 5 Amten 
gave twelve portions to his other children and fifty to his mother Mbsonît^ 
by means of which she lived comfortably in her old age, and left an 
annuity for maintaining worship at her tomb. 6 He built upon the remainder 
of the land a magnificent villa, of which he has considerately left us the 

1 Maspebo, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 177-181, 188-191. 

2 Lepsius, Denhm., ii. 7 a, 1. 5 ; cf. Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 238-211. 

3 Lepsius, Denim., ii. 6, 1. 4 ; cf. Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 217-219. 

* Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 6, 11. 5, 6 ; cf. Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 220, 226. Queen 
Hapûaimâît seems to have been the mother of Snofiûi, the first Pharaoh of the IV th dynasty of Manetho. 

5 Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 6, 1. 2 ; cf. Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 213-217. 

6 Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 3, 11. 13-18 ; cf. Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 22G-230. The- 
area of these portions of land is given, but the interpretation of the measures is still open to dispute. 


description. The boundary wall formed a square of 350 feet on each face, and 
consequently contained a superficies of 122,500 square feet. The well-built 
dwelling-house, completely furnished with all the necessities of life, was 
surrounded by ornamental and fruit-bearing trees, — the common palm, the 


nebbek, fig trees, and acacias ; several ponds, neatly bordered with greenery, 
afforded a habitat for aquatic birds ; trellised vines, according to custom, 
ran in front of the house, and two plots of ground, planted with vines in 
full bearing, amply supplied the owner with wine every year. 2 It was 
there, doubtless, that Amten ended his days in peace and quietude of 
mind. The tableland whereon the Sphinx has watched for so many centuries 
was then crowned by no pyramids, but mastabas of fine white stone rose 

1 This plan is taken from a Theban tomb of the XVIII th dynasty (Champollion, Monuments de. 
l'Egypte et de la Nubie, pl. cclxi. ; Kosellini, Monumenti Storici, pl. Ixix. ; Wilkinson, Manners and 
Customs, 2nd edit., vol. i. p. 877) ; but it corresponds exactly with the description which Amten has 
left us of his villa. 

1 Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 7 b ; cf. Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 230-238. 



here and there from out of the sand : that in which the mummy of Amten 
was to be enclosed was situated not far from the modern village of Abûsîr, 
on the confines of the nome of the Haunch, and almost in sight of the 
mansion in which his declining years were spent. 1 

The number of persons of obscure origin, who in this manner had risen 
in a few years to the highest honours, and died governors of provinces or 
ministers of Pharaoh, must have been considerable. Their descendants 
followed in their fathers' footsteps, until the day came when royal favour 
or an advantageous marriage secured them the possession of an hereditary 
fief, and transformed the son or grandson of a prosperous scribe into a 
feudal lord. It was from people of this class, and from the children of 
the Pharaoh, that the nobility was mostly recruited. In the Delta, where the 
authority of the Pharaoh was almost everywhere directly felt, the power 
of the nobility was weakened and much curtailed; in Middle Egypt it 
gained ground, and became stronger and stronger in proportion as one 
advanced southward. The nobles held the principalities of the Gazelle, 2 
of the Hare, 3 of the Serpent Mountain, 4 of Akhmîm, 5 of Thinis, 6 of Qasr-es- 
Sayad, 7 of El-Kab, 8 of Aswan, 9 and doubtless others of which we shall some 
day discover the monuments. They accepted without difficulty the fiction 
according to which Pharaoh claimed to be absolute master of the soil, and 
ceded to his subjects only the usufruct of their fiefs ; but apart from the 
admission of the principle, each lord proclaimed himself sovereign in his own 

1 The site of Amten's manorial mansion is nowhere mentioned in the inscriptions ; but the 
custom of the Egyptians to construct their tombs as near as possible to the places where they 
resided, leads me to consider it as almost certain that we ought to look for its site in the 
Memphite plain, in the vicinity of the town of Abûsîr, but in a northern direction, so as to keep 
within the territory of the Letopolite nome, where Amten governed in the name of the king. 

s Tomb of Khûnas, prince of the Gazelle nome, at Zawyet-el-Meiyetîn (Champollion, Monuments 
de rÉgypt et de la Nubie, voL ii. pp. 441-454; Lepsitjs, Denkm., ii. 105, 106); we find in the same 
locality, and at Sheîkh-Saîd, the semi-ruinous tombs of other princes of this same nome, contempo- 
raries for the most part of the VI th and VIII th dynasties (Lepsius, Denkm., ii. 110, 111). 

3 Tombs of the princes of the Hare at Sheîkh-Saîd and at Bersheh (Lepsius, Denltm., ii. 112, 113). 

4 Tomb of Zaû I., priuce of Thinis and of the Serpent Mountain, in Satce, Gleanings from the 
Land of Egypt (Recueil de Travaux, vol. xiii. pp. 65-67) ; cf. for an interpretation of the text published 
by Sayce, Maspero, Sur l'inscription de Zâou, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. xiii. pp. 68-71. 

5 Tombs of the princes of Akhmîm, in Mariette, Monuments divers, pl. xxi. b, p. 6, of the text, 
and in E. Schiaparelli, Chemmis-Achmim e la sua antica necropoli (in the Études Archéologiques 
dédiées a M. le Dr. C. Leemans, pp. 85-88). 

6 Tombs of the princes of Thinis at Mesheîkh, opposite Girgeh (Satce, Gleanings from the Land of 
Egypt,'m the Recueil de Travaux, vol. xiii. pp. 63, 64; Nestor L'hôte, in the Recueil, vol. xiii. pp. 71,72); 
many others may be met with further north, towards Beni-Mohammed-el-Kûfûr (Satce, ibid., p. 67). 

7 Tombs of the princes of Qasr-es-Sayad, partly copied by Nestor L'hôte, incompletely published 
in Lepsius, Denkm., ii. 113, 114, and in Villiers-Stuart, Nile Gleanings, pp. 305-307,pls. xxxvi.-xxxviii. 

8 Several princes of El-Kab are mentioned in the graffiti collected and published by L. Stern, 
Die Cultusstdtte der Lucina, in the Zeilschrift, 1875, p. 65, et seq. 

9 The tombs of the princes of Aswân, excavated between 1886 and 1892, have been published by U. 
Bouriant (Les Tombeaux dAssouân, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. x. p. 182, et seq.) and by Budge (Ex- 
cavations made at Aswan, in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archeology, 1887-88, p. 4, et seq.). 



domain, and exercised in it, on a small scale, complete royal authority. Every- 
thing within the limits of this petty state belonged to him — woods, canals, 
fields, even the desert-sand : 1 after the example of the Pharaoh, he farmed a 
part himself, and let out the remainder, either in farms or as fiefs, to those of 
his followers who had gained his confidence or his friendship. After the 
example of Pharaoh, also, he was a priest, and exercised priestly functions 


in relation to all the gods— that is, not of all Egypt, but of all the deities 
of the nome. He was an administrator of civil and criminal law, received 
the complaints of his vassals and serfs at the gate of his palace, and 
against his decisions there was no appeal. He kept up a flotilla, and raised 
on his estate a small army, of which he was commander-in-chief by 
hereditary right. He inhabited a fortified mansion, situated sometimes 

1 Grande Inscription de Beni-Hassan, 11. 46-53. The extent of the feudal power and organization 
of the nomes were defined for the first time by Maspero in La Grande Inscription de Beni-Hassan 
(Recueil, vol. i. pp. 179-181 ; cf. Erman, Myypten, p. 135, et seq. ; Ed. Meyer, GeschicUe JEgyptens, 
p. 156, et seq.). 

2 Drawn by Faueher-Gudin, from a photograph by Gayet; cf. Maspero, Le Tombeau de Nalchti, 
in the Mémoires publie's par les Membres de la Mission française du Caire, vol. v. p. 480. 


within the capital of the principality itself, sometimes in its neighbour- 
hood, and in which the arrangements of the royal city 1 were reproduced 
on a smaller scale. Side by side with the reception halls was the harem, 
where the legitimate wife, often a princess of solar rank, played the 
rôle of queen, surrounded by concubines, dancers, and slaves. The offices 
of the various departments were crowded into the enclosure, with their 
directors, governors, scribes of all ranks, custodians, and workmen, who 


bore the same titles as the corresponding employés in the departments of 
the State : their White Storehouse, their Gold Storehouse, their Granary, 
were at times called the Double White Storehouse, the Double Gold Store- 
house, the Double Granary, as were those of the Pharaoh. Amusements at 
the court of the vassal did not differ from those at that of the sovereign: 
hunting in the desert and the marshes, fishing, inspection of agricultural 
works, military exercises, games, songs, dancing, doubtless the recital of long 
stories, and exhibitions of magic, even down to the contortions of the court 

1 Maspero, Sur le sens des mots Nouît et Hâît, in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical 
Archxology, vol. xii., 1SS9-90, p. 252, et seq. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Émil Brugsch-Bey. The tomb of Api was dis- 
covered at Saqqâra in 1884. It had been pulled down in ancient times, and a new tomb built on its 
ruins, about the time of the XII th dynasty ; all that remains of it is now in the museum at Gîzeh. 



buffoon and the grimaces of the dwarfs. It amused the prince to see one 
of these wretched favourites leading to him by the paw a cynocephalus 
larger than himself, while a mischievous monkey slyly pulled a tame and 


stately ibis by the tail. From time to time the great lord proceeded to 
inspect his domain : on these occasions he travelled in a kind of sedan 
chair, supported by two mules yoked together; or he was borne in a 
palanquin by some thirty men, while fanned by large flabella ; or possibly 


he went up the Nile and the canals in his beautiful painted barge. The 
life of the Egyptian lords may be aptly described as in every respect 
an exact reproduction of the life of the Pharaoh on a smaller scale. 2 

Inheritance in a direct or indirect line was the rule, but in every case of 
transmission the new lord had to receive the investiture of the sovereign either 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a chromolithograph in Flinders Petrie's Medûm, pl. xxiv. 
The tombs of Beni-Hassan, which belong to the latter end of the XI th and early part of the 
XII th dynasties, furnish us with the most complete picture of this feudal life (Champollion, Monu- 
ments de l'Egypte et de la Nubie, vol. ii. pp. 334-436 ; Lepsius, Denhm., ii. 123, et seq.)- Ail tho 
features of which it was composed, are to be found singly on monuments of the Memphite epoch. 



by letter or in person. 1 The duties enforced by the feudal state do not appear 
to have been onerous. In the first place, there was the regular payment of 
a tribute, proportionate to the extent and resources of the fief. In the next 
place, there was military service : the vassal agreed to supply, when called 
upon, a fixed number of armed men, whom he himself commanded, unless he 
could offer a reasonable excuse such as illness or senile incapacity. 2 Attendance 
at court was not obligatory : we notice, however, many nobles about the person 
of Pharaoh, and there are numerous examples of princes, with whose lives we 
are familiar, filling offices which appear to have demanded at least a tem- 
porary residence in the palace, as, for instance, the charge of the royal wardrobe. 3 
When the king travelled, the great vassals were compelled to entertain him and 
his suite, and to escort him to the frontier of their domain. 4 On the occasion 
of such visits, the king would often take away with him one of their sons to be 
brought up with his own children : an act which they on their part considered 
a great honour, while the king on his had a guarantee of their fidelity in the 
person of these hostages. 5 Such of these young people as returned to their 
fathers' roof when their education was finished, were usually most loyal to the 
reigning dynasty. They often brought back with them some maiden born in 
the purple, who consented to share their little provincial sovereignty, 6 while 
in exchange one or more of their sisters entered the harem of the Pharaoh. 
Marriages made and marred in their turn the fortunes of the great feudal 
houses. 7 Whether she were a princess or not, each woman received as her 
dowry a portion of territory, and enlarged by that amount her husband's little 
state ; but the property she brought might, in a few years, be taken by her 
daughters as portions and enrich other houses. The fief seldom could bear up 
against such dismemberment ; it fell away piecemeal, and by the third or fourth 

1 For instance, this was so in the case of the princes of the Gazelle nome, as is shown by various 
passages in the Great Inscription of Beni-Hasan, 11. 13-24, 24-36, 54-62, 71-79. 

2 Prince Amoni, of the Gazelle nome, led a body of four hundred men and another body of six 
hundred, levied in his principality, into Ethiopia under these conditions ; the first time that ho served 
in the royal army, was as a substitute for his father, who had grown too old (Maspebo, La Grande 
Inscription de Beni-Hassan, in the Recueil, vol. i. pp. 171-173). Similarly, under the XVIIL"' 
dynasty, Âhmosis of El-Kab commanded the war-ship, the Calf, in place of his father (Lepsius, 
Deiikm., 12 a, 11. 5, 6). The Ûni inscription furnishes us with an instance of a general levy of the 
feudal contingents in the time of the VI th dynasty (1. 14, et seq.). 

3 E.g. Thothotpu, prince of the Hare nome, under the XII th dynasty (Lepsius, Denlcm-, ii. pi. 135), 
and Papinakhti, lord of Abydos, towards the end of theVI th (Mariette, Catalogue ge~ne~ral, p. 191, No. 531). 

* An indication of this fact is furnished by the texts referring to the course of the dead sun in 
Hades (Maspero, Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 44, 45). 

5 Khîti I., prince of Siût, was taken when quite young and brought up with the "royal children" 
at the court of an Heracleopolitan Pharaoh of the X th dynasty (Maspero, in the Revue Critique, 
1889, vol. ii. pp. 414, 415). 

6 Prince Zaûti of Qasr-es-Sayad had married a princess of the Papi family (Villiers-Stuaut, Nile 
Gleanings, pi. xxxviii.) ; so, too, had a prince of Giigeh (Nestor L'hôte, in the Recueil, vol. xiii. p. 72). 

' The history of the Gazelle nome furnishes us with a striking example of the rapid growth of a prin- 
cipality through the marriages of its rulers (Maspero, La Grande Inscription de Beni-Hassan, in the 
Recueil, vol. i. p. 170, et seq.). I shall have occasion to tell it in detail in Chap. VI. of the present work. 



generation had disappeared. Sometimes, however, it gained more than it lost 
in this matrimonial game, and extended its borders till they encroached on 
neighbouring nomes or else completely absorbed them. There were always in 
the course of each reign several great principalities formed, or in the process of 
formation, whose chiefs might be said to hold in their hands the destinies of 
the country. Pharaoh himself was obliged to treat them with deference, and 
he purchased their allegiance by renewed and ever-increasing concessions. 
Their ambition was never satisfied ; when they were loaded with favours, and 
did not venture to ask for more for themselves, they impudently demanded 
them for such of their children as they thought were poorly provided for. 
Their eldest son " knew not the high favours which came from the king. Other 
princes were his privy counsellors, his chosen friends, or foremost among his 
friends ! " he had no share in all this. 1 Pharaoh took good care not to reject a 
petition presented so humbly: he proceeded to lavish appointments, titles, and 
estates on the son in question ; if necessity required it, he would even seek out 
a wife for him, who might give him, together with her hand, a property equal 
to that of his father. The majority of these great vassals secretly aspired to 
the crown : they frequently had reason to believe that they had some right to 
it, either through their mother or one of their ancestors. Had they combined 
against the reigning house, they could easily have gained the upper hand, but 
their mutual jealousies prevented this, and the overthrow of a dynasty to which 
they owed so much would, for the most part, have profited them but little : as- 
soon as one of them revolted, the remainder took arms in Pharaoh's defence, 
led his armies and fought his battles. 2 If at times their ambition and greed 
harassed their suzerain, at least their power was at his service, and their self- 
interested allegiance was often the means of delaying the downfall of his house. 

Two things were specially needful both for them and for Pharaoh in order 
to maintain or increase their authority — the protection of the gods, and a 
military organization which enabled them to mobilize the whole of their 
forces at the first signal. The celestial world was the faithful image of our 
own ; it had its empires and its feudal organization, the arrangement of 
which corresponded to that of the terrestrial world. 3 The gods who inhabited 
it were dependent upon the gifts of mortals, and the resources of each 

1 La Grande Inscription de Beni-Hassan, 11. 148-1G0. These are the identical words used by 
Khuumhotpu, lord of the Gazelle nome, when trying to obtain an office or a grant of land on behalf 
of his son Nakhti. We learn from the context that Ûsirtasen II. at once granted his request. 

2 Tefabi, Prince of Siut, and his immediate successors, did so on behalf of the Pharaohs of the 
X th Heracleopolitan dynasty, against the first Theban Pharaohs of the Antûf family (Maspeeo, iu 
the Revue Critique, 1889, vol. ii. pp. 415-419). On the other hand, it appears that the neighbouring 
family of Khnûmhotpû, in the nome of the Gazelle, took the part of the Thebans, and owned their 
subsequent greatness to them. 

* Cf. p. 98 of the present work, for what has been said on the nature and origin of the feudal, 
system of the Egyptian gods. 



individual deity, and consequently his power, depended on the wealth and 
number of his worshippers; anything influencing one had an immediate effect 
on the other. The gods dispensed happiness, health, and vigour ; 1 to those 
who made them large offerings and instituted pious foundations, they lent 
their own weapons, and inspired them with needful strength to overcome 
their enemies. 2 They even came down to assist in battle, and every great 
encounter of armies involved an invisible struggle among the immortals. 3 The 
gods of the side which was victorious shared with it in the triumph, and 
received a tithe of the spoil as the price of their help; the gods of the 
vanquished were so much the poorer, their priests and their statues were 
reduced to slavery, and the destruction of their people entailed their own 
downfall. It was, therefore, to the special interest of every one in Egypt, from 
the Pharaoh to the humblest of his vassals, to maintain the good will and 
power of the gods, so that their protection might be effectively ensured 
in the hour of danger. Pains were taken to embellish their temples with 
obelisks, colossi, altars, and bas-reliefs ; new buildings were added to the old ; 
the parts threatened with ruin were restored or entirely rebuilt; daily gifts 
were brought of every kind — animals which were sacrificed on the spot, bread, 
flowers, fruit, drinks, as well as perfumes, stuffs, vases, jewels, bricks or bars of 
gold, silver, lapis-lazuli, which were all heaped up in the treasury within the 
recesses of the crypts. 4 If a dignitary of high rank wished to perpetuate the 
remembrance of his honours or his services, and at the same time to procure for 
his double the benefit of endless prayers and sacrifices, he placed " by special 
permission " 5 a statue of himself on a votive stele in the part of the temple 
reserved for this purpose, — in a courtyard, chamber, encircling passage, as at 
Karnak, 6 or on the staircase of Osiris as in that leading up to the terrace in the 

1 I may here remind my readers of the numberless ba3-reliefs and stelae on which the king is 
represented as making an offering to a god, who replies in some such formula as the following: "I 
give thee health and strength ; " or, " I give thee joy and life for millions of years." 

2 See, for instance, at Medinet-Habû, Amon and other gods handing to Bamses III. the great 
curved sword, the " khopshû " (Dumichen, Historisclie Inscliri/ten, vol. i. pis. vii., xi., xii., xiii., xvi., xvii.). 

3 In the "Poem of Pentaûîrît," Amon comes from Hermonthis in the Thebaid to Qodshû in the 
heart of Syria, in order to help Eamses II. in battle, and rescue him from the peril into which he 
had been plunged by the desertion of his supporters (E. and J. de Eocgé, Le Poème de Pentaour, 
in the Revue Égyptologique, vol. v. pp. 158, 159). 

4 See the " Poem of Pentaûîrît " (E. and J. de Bougé, in the Revue Égyptologique, vol. v. p. 15> 
ct seq.) for the grounds on which Eamses II. bases his imperative appeal to Amon for help : " Have I 
not made thee numerous offerings ? I have filled thy temple with my prisoners. I have built thee 
au everlasting temple, and have not spared my wealth in endowing it for thee ; I lay the whole world 
under contribution in order to stock thy domain. ... I have built thee whole pylons in stone, and 
have myself reared the fiagstaffs which adorn them ; I have brought thee obelisks from Elephantinê." 

4 The majority of the votive statues were lodged in a temple "by special favour of a king" — 
em hosîtû nti khîe SÛTON — as a recompense for services rendered (Mariette, Catalogue des prin- 
cipaux monuments du Musée de Boulaq, 1864, p. 65; and KarnaT;, text, p. 42, et seq.). Some only of 
the stelas bear an inscription to the above effect (Mariette, Catalogue des principaux monuments, 
1864, p. 65) ; no authorization from the king was required for the consecration of a stele in a temple. 

6 It was in the encircling passage of the limestone temple built by the kings of the XII lh 


sanctuary of Abydos ; 1 he then sealed a formal agreement with the priests, by 
which the latter engaged to perform a service in his name, in front of this com- 
memorative monument, a stated number of times in the year, on the days fixed 
by universal observance or by local custom. 2 For this purpose he assigned to 
them annuities in kind, charges on his patrimonial estates, or in some cases, 
if he were a great lord, on the revenues of his fief, 3 — such as a fixed quantity 
of loaves and drinks for each of the celebrants, a fourth part of the sacrificial 
victim, a garment, frequently also lands with their cattle, serfs, existing build- 
ings, farming implements and produce, along with the conditions of service with 
which the lands were burdened. These gifts to the god — " nutir hotpûù " — were, 
it appears, effected by agreements analogous to those dealing with property in 
mortmain in modern Egypt ; in each nome they constituted, in addition to the 
original temporalities of the temple, a considerable domain, constantly enlarged 
by fresh endowments. The gods had no daughters for whom to provide, nor 
sons among whom to divide their inheritance ; all that fell to them remained 
theirs for ever, and in the contracts were inserted imprecations threatening 
with terrible ills, in this world and the next, those who should abstract the 
smallest portion from them. 4 Such menaces did not always prevent the king 
or the lords from laying hands on the temple revenues: had this not been 
the case, Egypt would soon have become a sacerdotal country from one end to 
the other. Even when reduced by periodic usurpations, the domain of the 
gods formed, at all periods, about one- third of the whole country. 5 

Its administration was not vested in a single body of Priests, representing 

dynasty, and now completely destroyed, that all the Karnak votive statues were discovered 
(Mariette, Karnak, text, p. 42, et seq.). Some of them still rest on the stone ledge on which they 
were placed by the priests of the god at the moment of consecration. 

1 The majority of the stelae collected in the temple of Osiris at Abydos were supposed to have 
come from " the staircase of the great god." In reference to this staircase, the tomb of Osiris to which 
it led, and the fruitless efforts made by Mariette to discover it, see Maspero's remarks in the Revue 
Critique, 1881, vol. i. p. 83, and Études Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 128, 129. See p. 508 of this vol. 

2 The great Siût inscription, translated by Maspebo (Études de Mythologie et d'Archéologie 
Égyptiennes, vol. i. pp. 53-75) and by Erman (Zehn Vertrdge aus dem mittleren Reich, in the 
Zeitschrift, 1882, pp. 159-184), has preserved for us in its entirety one of these contracts between 
a prince and the priest of Ûapûaîtû. 

3 This is proved by the passages in the Siût inscription (11. 24, 28, 41, 43, 53), in which Hâpizaûfi 
draws a distinction between the revenues which he assigns to the priests "on the house of his 
father," i.e. on his patrimonial estates, and those revenues which he grants "on the house of the 
prince " or on his princely fief. 

* The foundation stele of the temple at Deîr-el-Medineh is half filled with imprecations of 
this kind (S. Birch, Sur une Stèle Hiératique, in Chabas' Mélanges Egyptologiques, 2nd series, pp. 
324-343, and Inscriptions in the Hieratic and Demotic Character, pl. xxix.). We possess two frag- 
ments of similar inscriptions belonging to the time of the Ancient Empire, but in such a mutilated 
state as to defy translation (Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 318 ; E. and J. de 
Eougé, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques, pl. i.). 

5 The tradition handed down by Diodorus (i. § 21) tells us that the goddess Isis assigned a third 
of the country to the priests ; the whole of Egypt is said to have beeu divided into three equal 
parts, the first of which belonged to the priests, the second to the kings, and the third to the 
warrior class (ib., § 73). When we read, in the great Harris Papyrus, the list of the property 
possessed by the temple of the The ban Amon alone, all over Egypt, under Eamses III., we can 
readily believe that the tradition of the Greek epoch in no way exaggerated matters. 



the whole of Egypt and recruited or ruled everywhere in the same fashion. 
There were as many bodies of priests as there were temples, and every temple 
preserved its independent constitution with which the clergy of the neighbouring 
temples had nothing to do : the only master they acknowledged was the lord of 
the territory on which the temple was built, either Pharaoh or one of his nobles. 
The tradition which made Pharaoh the head of the different worships in Egypt 
prevailed everywhere, but Pharaoh soared too far above this world to confine 
himself to the functions of any one particular order of priests : 1 he officiated 
before all the gods without being specially the minister of any, and only exerted 
his supremacy in order to make appointments to important sacerdotal posts in 
his domain. 2 He reserved the high priesthood of the Memphite Phtah and that 
of Eâ of Heliopolis either for the princes of his own family or more often for his 
most faithful servants ; 3 they were the docile instruments of his will, through 
whom he exerted the influence of the gods, and disposed of their property without 
having the trouble of administrating it. The feudal lords, less removed from 
mortal affairs than the Pharaoh, did not disdain to combine the priesthood of 
the temples dependent on them with the general supervision of the different 
worships practised on their lands. The princes of the Gazelle nome, for instance, 
bore the title of " Directors of the Prophets of all the Gods," but were, correctly 
speaking, prophets of Horus, of Khnùmû master of Haoîrît, and of Pakhît mis- 
tress of the Speos-Artemidos. 4 The religious suzerainty of such princes was the 
complement of their civil and military power, and their ordinary income was 
augmented by some portion at least of the revenues which the lands in mort- 
main furnished annually. The subordinate sacerdotal functions were filled by 
professional priests whose status varied according to the gods they served and 

1 The only exception to this rule was in the case of the Theban kings of the XXI st dynasty, 
and even here the exception is more apparent than real. As a matter of fact, these kings, Hrihor 
and Pinozmû, began by being high priests of Anion before ascending the throne; they were 
pontiffs who became Pharaohs, not Pharaohs who created themselves pontiffs. Possibly we ought to 
place Smonkharî of the XIV th dynasty in the same category, if, as Brugsch assures us (fieschichle 
Mgyptens, p. 181, et seq.; cf. "Wiedemann, JEgyptisehe Geschichte, p. 267), his name, Mîr-mâshâû, is 
identical with the title of the high priest of Osiris at Mendes, thus proving that he was pontiff of 
Osiris in that town before, he became king. 

2 Among other instances, we have that of the king of the XXI st Tanite dynasty, who appointed 
Mankhopirrî, high priest of the Theban Amon (Bkugsch, Eecueil de monuments, vol. i. pi. xxii., 
the stele is now in the Louvre), and that of the last king of the same dynasty, Psûsennes II., who 
conferred the same office on prince Aûpûti, son of Sheshonqû (Maspero, Les Momies royales de Béir- 
el-Bahari, in the Mémoires de la Mission du Caire, vol. i. p. 730, et seq.). The king's right of nomi- 
nation harmonized very well with the hereditary transmission of the priestly office through members 
of the same family, as we shall have occasion to show later on. 

3 A list, as yet very incomplete, of the high priests of Phtah at Memphis, was drawn up by 
E. Schiaparelli in his Catalogue of the Egyptian Museum at Florence (pp. 201-203). One of them, 
Shopsisûphtah I., married the eldest daughter of Pharaoh Shopsiskaf of the IV th dynasty (E. de 
Eougé, Becherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties de Manéthon, 
pp. 67-71); Khamoîsît, one of the favourite sons of Eamses II., was also high priest of the Memphite 
Phtah during the greater part of his father's reign. 

4 See their titles collected in Maspeeo's La Grande Insertion de Beni-Hassan (Recueil de 
Travaux, vol. i. pp. 179, 180) ; the sacerdotal titles borne by the princes and princesses of Thebes 
under the XX th dynasty will be found in Maspero, Les Momies royales de Béir-el-Baliari. 


the provinces in which they were located. 1 Although between the mere priest 
and the chief prophet there were a number of grades to which the majority never 
attained, still the temples attracted many people from divers sources, who, once 
established in this calling of life, not only never left it, but never rested until 
they had introduced into it the members of their families. The offices they 
filled were not necessarily hereditary, but the children, born and bred in the 
shelter of the sanctuary, almost always succeeded to the positions of their fathers, 
and certain families thus continuing in the same occupation for generations, 
at last came to be established as a sort of sacerdotal nobility. 2 The sacrifices 
supplied them with daily meat and drink ; the temple buildings provided them 
with their lodging, and its revenues furnished them with a salary proportionate 
to their position. They were exempted from the ordinary taxes, from military 
service, and from forced labour ; it is not surprising, therefore, that those who 
were not actually members of the priestly families strove to have at least a share 
in their advantages. The servitors, the workmen and the employés who congre- 
gated about them and constituted the temple corporation, 3 the scribes attached 
to the administration of the domains, and to the receipt of offerings, shared de 
facto if not de jure in the immunity of the priesthood; as a body they formed 
a separate religious society, side by side, but distinct from, the civil population, 
and freed from most of the burdens which weighed so heavily on the latter. 4 

The soldiers were far from possessing the wealth and influence of the clergy. 
Military service in Egypt was not universally compulsory, but rather the 
profession and privilege of a special class of whose origin but little is known. 5 
Perhaps originally it comprised only the descendants of the conquering race, but 
in historic times it was not exclusively confined to the latter, and recruits were 

1 The only hierarchy of which we have any knowledge is that of the Theban Amon, at Karnak, 
thanks to the inscription in which Bokûnikhonsû has told us of the advance in his career under Seti 
I. and Eamses I. from the rank of priest to that of " First Prophet," i.e. of High Priest of Anion 
(Th. Dévèuia, Le Monument biographique de Balcenlchonsou, pp. 12-14; cf. A. Bah. let, De l'Election 
du Grand Prêtre d'Ammon, in the Revue Archéologique, 2nd series, 1862, vol. iii.). 

2 We possess the coffins of the priests of the Theban Montû for nearly thirty generations, viz. from 
the XXV th dynasty to the time of the Ptolemies. The inscriptions give us their genealogies, as well 
as their intermarriages, and show us that they belonged almost exclusively to two or three important 
families who intermarried with one another or took the ir wives from the families of the priests of Amon. 

3 These were the Qonbâliû, who are so frequently mentioned in the great inscription of Siut 
(Maspero, Egyptim Documents, in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archxology, vol. vii. 
p. 14) ; we have already seen Qonbâtiù as forming part of the entourage of kings (see p. 277, note 3). 

4 We know what the organization of the temples during the Ptolemaic epoch was, and its main 
features are set forth summarily in Ltjmbroso's Économie politique de l'Egypte sous les Lagides, 
pp. 270-274. A study of the information which we glean here and there from the monuments of 
n previous epoch, shows us that it was very nearly identical with the organization of the Pharaonic 
temples ; the only difference being that there was more regularity and precision in the distribution 
of the priests into classes. 

4 This class was called Monfîtû in Ancient Egypt (MASPERO,'£^Mcies Egyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 35, 36 ; cf. 
Brdgsch, Die Mgyptologie, pp. 232, 233). The Greek historians, from the time of Herodotus onwards, 
generally designated them by the term fiax^oi (Herodotus, ii. 164, 168 ; Diodorus Sicultjs, i. 28, 73, 
74; cf. Papyrus No. LXIII. du Louvre, in Letronne, Les Papyrus Grecs du Louvre, p. 360, et seq ). 




raised everywhere among the fellahs, 1 the Bedouin of the neighbourhood, the 
negroes, 2 the Nubians, 3 and even from among the prisoners of war, or adventurers 
from beyond the sea. 4 This motley collection of foreign mercenaries composed 
ordinarily the body-guard of the king or of his barons, the permanent nucleus 
round which in times of war the levies of native recruits were rallied. Every 
Egyptian soldier received from the chief to whom he was attached, a holding of 
land for the maintenance of himself and his family. In the fifth century B.c. 
twelve arurse of arable land was estimated as ample pay for each man, 5 and 
tradition attributes to the fabulous Sesostris 6 the law which fixed the pay at 
this rate. The soldiers were not taxed, and were exempt from forced labour 
during the time that they were away from home on active service ; with this 
exception they were liable to the same charges as the rest of the population. 
Many among them possessed no other income, and lived the precarious life of 
the fellah, — tilling, reaping, drawing water, and pasturing their cattle, — in the 
interval between two musters. 7 Others possessed of private fortunes let their 
holdings out at a moderate rental, which formed an addition to their patrimonial 
income. 8 Lest they should forget the conditions upon which they possessed this 

1 This is shown, inter alia,hy the real or supposititious letters in which the master-scribe endeavours 
to deter his pupil from adopting a military career (Maspeko,Du Genre Épistolaire, pp. 40-44 ; cf. Erman, 
Mgypten und JEgyptisclies Leben im Altertum, pp. 721, 722), recommending that of a scribe in preference. 

2 Ûni, under Papi I., recruited his army from among the inhabitants of the whole of Egypt, from Ele- 
phantinê to Letopolis at the mouth of the Delta, and as far as the Mediterranean, from among the Bedouin 
of Libya and of the Isthmus, and even from the six negro races of Nubia {Inscription d'Ouni, 11. 14-19). 

3 The Nubian tribe of the Mâzaiû, afterwards known as the Libyan tribe of the Mâshaûasha, 
furnished troops to the Egyptian kings and princes for centuries; indeed, the Mâzaiû formed such 
an integral part of the Egyptian armies that their name came to be used in Coptic as a synonym for 
soldier, under the form " matoï." 

4 Later on we shall come across the Shardana of the Eoyal Guard under Ramses II. (E. de Rougé, 
Extrait d'un mémoire sur les attaques, p. 5) ; later still, the Ionians, Carians, and Greek mercenaries 
will be found to play a decisive part in the history of the Saïte dynasties. 

5 Herodotus, ii. 168. The arura being equal to 27-82 ares [an are = 100 square metres], the 
military fief contained 27 - 82 x 12 — 33384 ares. [The "arura," according to F. L. Griffith, was 
a square of 100 Egyptian cubits, making about g of an acre, or 2600 square metres (Proceedings of the 
Society of Biblical Archeology, vols, xiv., xv.). — Trs.] The chiflihs created by Mohammed- Ali, with 
a view to bringing the abandoned districts into cultivation, allotted to each labourer who offered to 
reclaim it, a plot of land varying from one to three feddans, i.e. from 4200'83 square metres to 
12602 - 49 square metres, according to the nature of the soil and the necessities of each family (Chélu, 
Le Nil, le Soudan, l'Egypte, p. 210). The military fiefs of ancient Egypt were, therefore, nearly three 
times as great in extent as these abadiyehs, which were considered, in modern Egypt, sufficient to 
supply the wants of a whole family of peasants; they must, therefore, have secured not merely 
a bare subsistence, but ample provision for their proprietors. 

6 Diodorus Siculus, i. 54, 73, 93 ; cf. Aristotle, Polit., vii. 9. No Egyptian monument contains 
any reference to the passing of such a law. The passage in the " Poem of Pentaûûît," which has 
been quoted in this connection (Revillout, La Caste Militaire organisée par Ramsès II. d'après 
Diodore de Sicile et le Poème de Peutaour, in the Bévue Égyptologique, vol. iii. pp. 101-104), does not 
contain any statement to this effect. It merely makes a general allusion to the favours with which 
the king loaded his generals and soldiers. 

7 This follows from the expressions used in Papyrus No. LXIII. du Louvre, and from the recom- 
mendations addressed by the ministers of the Ptolemies to the royal administrators in regard to 
soldiers who had sunk into pauperism. 

8 Diodorus Siculus says in so many words (i. 74) that "the farmers spent their life in cultivating 
lands which had been let to them at a moderate rent by the king, by the priests, and by the warriors." 


military holding, and should regard themselves as absolute masters of it, they 
were seldom left long in possession of the same place : Herodotus asserts that 
their allotments were taken away yearly and replaced by others of equal extent. 1 
It is difficult to say if this law of perpetual change was always in force ; at any 
rate, it did not prevent the soldiers from forming themselves in time into a kind 
of aristocracy, which even kings and barons of highest rank could not ignore. 
They were enrolled in special registers, with the indication of the holding which 


was temporarily assigned to them. A military scribe kept this register in every 
royal nome or principality. He superintended the redistribution of the lands, 
the registration of privileges, and in addition to his administrative functions, he 
had in time of war the command of the troops furnished by his own district ; in 
which case he was assisted by a " lieutenant," who as opportunity offered acted 
as his substitute in the office or on the battle-field. 3 Military service was not 
hereditary, but its advantages, however trifling they may appear to us, seemed 
in the eyes of the fellahs so great, that for the most part those who were 
engaged in it had their children also enrolled. While still young the latter 
were taken to the barracks, where they were taught not only the use of the 
bow, the battle-axe, the mace, the lance, and the shield, but were all instructed 
in such exercises as rendered the body supple, and prepared them for 
manoeuvring, regimental marching, running, jumping, and wrestling either 
with closed or open hand. 4 They prepared themselves for battle by a regular 
war-dance, pirouetting, leaping, and brandishing their bows and quivers in the 
1 Herodotus, ii. 168 ; cf. Wiedemann, Herodots Zweites Buck, pp. 578-580. 

1 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a scene in the tomb of Amoni-Amenemhâît at Beni-Hasan 
{cf. Griffith and Newberry, Beni-Hasan, vol. i. pi. xvi.). 

3 This organization was first defined by G. Maspeiio, Études Egyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 34, et seq. 
While the name of the class liable to be called on for military service was Monfitû, later aûû, the 
soldiers collected into troops, the men on active service were called mâshaû, the "marchers" or 
" foot soldiers." 

4 See, on the subject of military education, the curious passages in the Anastasi Papyrus HI. 
{pi. v. 1. 5, pi. vi.), and Anastasi IV. (pl. ix. 1. 4, et seq.), translated in Maspero's Du Genre Épisto- 
laire, pp. 40-44; cf. Erman, JEqypten und JEgyptisches Leben im Altertum, pp. 721, 722. The 
exercises are represented on several tombs at Beni-Hasan (Champollion, Monuments de l'Égypte 
et de la Nubie, pl. ccclxiv., and Texte, vol. ii. p. 348, et seq. ; Kosellini, Monumenti civili, pi. cxi. 
et seq.). 



air. Their training being finished, they were incorporated into local companies, 
and invested with their privileges. When they were required for service, part 
or the whole of the class was mustered ; arms kept in the arsenal were dis- 
tributed among them, and they were conveyed in boats to the scene of action. 
The Egyptians were not martial by temperament ; they became soldiers rather 
from interest than inclination. 1 

The power of Pharaoh and his barons rested entirely upon these two classes, 
the priests and the soldiers ; the remainder, the commonalty and the peasantry, 
were, in their hands, merely an inert mass, to be taxed and subjected to forced 
labour at will. The slaves were probably regarded as of little importance ; the 
bulk of the people consisted of free families who were at liberty to dispose of 
themselves and their goods. Every fellah and townsman in the service of the 
king, or of one of his great nobles, could leave his work and his village when he 
pleased, could pass from the domain in which he was born into a different one, 
and could traverse the country from one end to the other, as the Egyptians 
of to-day still do. 2 His absence entailed neither loss of goods, nor persecution 
of the relatives he left behind, and he himself had punishment to fear only 
when he left the Nile Valley without permission, to reside for some time in a 
foreign land. 3 But although this independence and liberty were in accordance 
with the laws and customs of the land, yet they gave rise to inconveniences- 
from which it was difficult to escape in practical life. Every Egyptian, the 
King excepted, was obliged, in order to get on in life, to depend on one more 
powerful than himself, whom he called his master. The feudal lord was proud 

1 With regard to the unwarlike character of the Egyptians, see what Strabo says, lib. xvii. § 53, 
p. 819. Diodorus Sicuxus, i. 73, expressly states that fiefs were given to the fighting-men " in order 
that the possession of this landed property might render them more zealous in risking their lives on 
behalf of their country." 

- In the "Instructions of Klnti, son of Dûaûf, to his son Papi" (Maspero, Du Style épistolaire, 
p. 48, et seq. ; Lauth, Die altàgyptische Hochschule zu Chennu, in the Sitzungsberichte of the Academy 
of Munich, 1872, i. p. 37, et seq.), the scribe shows us the working classes as being always on the 
move; first of all the boatman (§ vii.), then the husbandman (§ xii.), the armourer (§ xiv.), the courier 
(§ xv.). I may mention here those wandering priests of Isis or Osiris, who, in the second century of 
our era, hawked about their tabernacles and catch-penny oracles all over the provinces of the Eomau 
Empire, and whose traces are found even so far afield as the remote parts of the Island of Britain. 

3 The treaty between Ramses and the Prince of Khîli contains a formal extradition clause in 
reference to Egyptians or Hittites, who had quitted their native country, of course without the 
permission of their sovereign (E. de Rougé, Traité' entre Bamsès II. et le prince de Khet, in the 
Bévue Archéologique, 2nd seiies, vol. iv. p. 268, and in Eggek, Études sur les traités publics, pp. 213, 
252 ; Chabas, Le Voyage d'un Égyptien, p. 332, et seq.). The two contracting parties expressly 
stipulate that persons extradited on one side or the other shall not be puuished for having emigrated, 
that their property is not to be confiscated, nor are their families to be held responsible for their 
flight (11. 22-36, in the edition of Bodriant's Becueil de Travaux, vol. xiii. pp. 156-158, and vol. xiv. 
pp. 68, 69). From this clause it follows that in ordinary times unauthorized emigration brought upon 
the culprit corporal punishment and the confiscation of his goods, as well as various penalties on- 
his family. The way in which Sinûhît makes excuses for his flight, the fact of his asking pardon 
before returning to Egypt (Maspero, Les Contes populaires, 2nd edit., p. 109, et seq.), the very terms 
of the letter in which the king recalls him and assures him of impunity, show us that the laws- 
against emigration were in full force under the XII"' dynasty. 


to recognize Pharaoh as his master, and he himself was master of the soldiers 
and priests in his own petty state. 1 From the top to the bottom of the social 
scale every free man acknowledged a master, who secured to him justice and 
protection in exchange for his obedience and fealty. The moment an Egyp- 
tian tried to withdraw himself from this subjection, the peace of his life was at 
an end ; he became a man without a master, and therefore without a recognized 
protector. 2 Any one might stop him on the way, steal his cattle, merchandise, 
or property on the most trivial pretest, and if he attempted to protest, might 


beat him with almost certain impunity. The only resource of the victim 
was to sit at the gate of the palace, waiting to appeal for justice till the 
lord or the king should appear. If by chance, after many rebuffs, his humble 
petition were granted, it was only the beginning of fresh troubles. Even if 
the justice of the cause were indisputable, the fact that he was a man without 
home or master inspired his judges with an obstinate mistrust, and delayed 
the satisfaction of his claims. In vain he followed his judges with his com- 
plaints and flatteries, chanting their virtues in every key : " Thou art the 
father of the unfortunate, the husband of the widow, the brother of the orphan, 
the clothing of the motherless : enable me to proclaim thy name as a law 
throughout the land. Good lord, guide without caprice, great without little- 
ness, thou who destroyest falsehood and causest truth to be, come at the words 
of my mouth ; I speak, listen and do justice. generous one, generous of 
the generous, destroy the cause of my trouble ; here I am, uplift me ; judge 

1 The expressions which bear witness to this fact are very numerous: Mini nîbûf = "He who 
loves his master ; " Aqû hâîti ni nîbîf = " He who enters into the heart of his master," etc. They 
recur so frequently in the texts in the case of persons of all ranks, that it was thought no importance 
ought to be attached to them. But the constant repetition of the word NIB, " master," shows that 
we must alter this view, and give these phrases their full meaning. 

2 The expression, "a man without a master," occurs several times in the Berlin Papyrus, No. ii. 
For instance, the peasant who is the hero of the story, says of the lord Miiûiteusi, that he is 
"the rudder of heaven, the guide of the earth, the balance which carries the offerings, the buttress 
of tottering walls, the support of that which falls, the great master who takes whoever is without 
a master to lavish on him the goods of his house, a jug of beer and three loaves " each day (11. 90-95). 

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the tomb of Khîti at Beni-Hasau (Champollion, Monument*, 
ccclxiv. 2 ; Kosellini, Monumenti civili, pi. cxvii. 2). These are soldiers of the nome of the Gazelle. 



me, for behold me a suppliant before thee." 1 If he were an eloquent speaker 
and the judge were inclined to listen, he was willingly heard, but his cause 
made no progress, and delays, counted on by his adversary, effected his ruin. 
The religious law, no doubt, prescribed equitable treatment for all devotees 
of Osiris, and condemned the slightest departure from justice as one of the 
gravest sins, even in the case of a great noble, or in that of the king himself; 2 
but how could impartiality be shown when the one was the recognized protector, 
the " master " of the culprit, while the plaintiff was a vagabond, attached to 
no one, " a man without a master " ! 3 

The population of the towns included many privileged persons other than 
the soldiers, priests, or those engaged in the service of the temples. Those 
employed in royal or feudal administration, from the " superintendent of the 
storehouse " to the humblest scribe, though perhaps not entirely exempt from 
forced labour, had but a small part of it to bear. 4 These employés constituted 
a middle class of several grades, and enjoyed a fixed income and regular 
employment : they were fairly well educated, very self-satisfied, and always 
ready to declare loudly their superiority over any who were obliged to gain 
their living by manual labour. Each class of workmen recognized one or 
more chiefs, — the shoemakers, their master-shoemakers, the masons, their 
master-masons, the blacksmiths, their master-blacksmiths, — who looked after 
their interests and represented them before the local authorities. 5 It was 
said among the Greeks, that even robbers were united in a corporation like 
the others, and maintained an accredited superior as their representative 
with the police, to discuss the somewhat delicate questions which the prac- 
tice of their trade gave occasion to. When the members of the association 

1 Maspero, Les Contes populaires de VÉgypte Ancienne, 2nd edit., p. 46. 

* See, on this point, the " Negative Confession " in chap. cxxv. of the Boole of the Dead, a complete 
translation of which has been given on pp. 188-191 of the present work. 

3 The whole of this picture is taken from the " History of the Peasant," which has been preserved 
to us in the Berlin Papyrus, No. ii. (Chabas, Les Papyrus hiératiques de Berlin, p. 5, et seq. ; 
Goodwin in Chabas, Mélanges Égyptologiques, 2nd series, p. 249, et seq.; Maspero, Les Contes 
populaires, 2nd edit., p. 33, et seq.). The Egyptian writer has placed the time of his story under 
a king of the Heracleopolitan dynasties, the IX" 1 and the X th ; but what is true of that epoch is 
equally true of the Ancient Empire, as may be proved by comparing what he says with the data 
which can be gleaned from an examination of the paintings on the Memphite tombs. 

* This is a fair inference from the indirect testimony of the Letters : the writer, in enumerating 
the liabilities of the various professions, implies by contrast that the scribe (i.e. the employé in 
general) is not subject to them, or is subject to a less onerous share of them than others. The 
beginning and end of the instructions of Khiti would in themselves be sufficient to show us the 
advantages which the middle classes under the XII th dynasty believed they could derive from 
adopting the profession of scribe (Maspero, Du Genre Épistolaire, pp. 49, 50, 66, et seq.). 

5 The stelra of Abydos are very useful to those who desire to study the populations of a small 
town. They give us the names of the head-men of trades of all kinds : the head-mason Didiû 
(Mariette, Catalogue général, p. 129, Nos. 593 and 339, No. 947), the master-mason Aa (id., p. 161, 
No. 640), the master-shoemaker Kahikhonti (Botjriant, Petits Monuments et petits Textes, in the 
Becueil, vol. vii. p. 127, No. 19), the head-smiths Ûsirtasen-Ûati, Hotpû, Hotpûrekhsû (Mariette, 
Catalogue général, p. 287, No. 856), etc. 



had stolen any object of value, it was to this superior that the person robbed 
resorted, in order to regain possession of it : it was he who fixed the amount 
required for its redemption, and returned it without fail, upon the payment 
of this sum. 1 Most of the workmen who formed a state corporation, lodged, 
or at least all of them had their stalls, in the same quarter or street, under the 
direction of their chief. 2 Besides the poll and the house tax, 3 they were subject 


to a special toll, a trade licence which they paid in products of their commerce 
or industry. 5 Their lot was a hard one, if we are to believe the description 
which ancient writers have handed down to us : "I have never seen a black- 
smith on an embassy — nor a smelter sent on a mission — but what I have seen 
is the metal worker at his toil, — at the mouth of the furnace of his forge, — 
his fingers as rugged as the crocodile, — and stinking more than fish -spawn. — 

1 Diodorus Sicultjs, i 80 ; cf. Atjlcs Gellius, xi. cap. xviii. § 16, according to the testimony of 
the jurisconsultus Aristo, haudquaquam indocti viri. According to De Pauw, Recherches philosophiques 
sur Us Egyptiens et sur les Chinois (Berlin, 1734), vol. ii. pt. 4, p. 93, et seq., the regulations in 
regard to theft and thieves were merely a treaty concluded with the Bedouin, in order to obtain 
from them, on payment of a ransom, the restoration of objects which they had carried off in the 
course of their raids. 

s A. Baillet, Divisions et Administration d'une Ville Égyptienne, iu the Recueil de Travaux, 
vol. xi. pp. 34-36. 

3 These two taxes are expressly mentioned under Amenôthes III. (Brugsch, Die Mgyptologie, 
pp. 297-299). Allusion is made to it in several inscriptions of the Middle Empire. 

4 Drawn by Paucher-Gudin, from Rosellini, Monumenti Civili, pi. 2 o ; cf. Virey, Le Tombeau 
de Eèkhmarâ, in the Mémoires de la Mission française du Caire, vol. v. pis. xiii., xiv. 

4 The registers (for the most part unpublished) which are contained in European museums show 
us that fishermen paid in fish, gardeners in flowers and vegetables, etc., the taxes or tribute which 
they owed to their lords. For the Greek period, see what Lumbroso says in his Economie politique 
de l'Égypte, p. 297, et seq. In the great inscription of Abydos (Mariette, Abydos, vol. i. pi. viii. 
1. 88) the weavers attached to the temple of Seti I. are stated to have paid their tribute in studs. 



The artisan of any kind who handles the chisel, — does not employ so much 
movement as he who handles the hoe ; 1 — but for him his fields are the 
timber, his business is the metal, — and at night when the other is free, — he, 
he works with his hands over and above what he has already done, — for at 
night, he works at home by the lamp. — The stone-cutter who seeks his living 
by working in all kinds of durable stone, — when at last he has earned some- 
thing — and his two arms are worn out, he stops ; — but if at sunrise he remain 


sitting, — his legs are tied to his back. 3 — The barber who shaves until the 
evening, — when he falls to and eats, it is without sitting down i — while running 
from street to street to seek custom ; — if he is constant [at work] his two arms 
fill his belly — as the bee eats in proportion to its toil. — Shall I tell thee of the 
mason — how he endures misery ? — Exposed to all the winds — while he builds 
without any garment but a belt — aud while the bunch of lotus-flowers [which 

1 The literal translation would be, " The artisai of all kinds who handles the chisel is more 
motionless than he who handles the hoe." Both here, and in several other passages of this little 
satiric poem, I have been obliged to paraphrase the text in order to render it intelligible to the 
modern reader. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Eosellini, Monumenti civili, pi. xlviii. 2. 

3 This is an allusion to the cruel manner in which the Egyptians were accustomed to bind their 
prisoners, as it were in a bundle, with the legs bent backward along the back and attached to the 
arms. The working-day commenced then, as now, at sunrise, and lasted till sunset, with a short 
interval of one or two hours at midday for the workmen's dinner and siesta. 

4 Literally, " He places himself on his elbow." The metaphor seems to me to be taken from the 
practice of the trade itself: the barber keeps his elbow raised when shaving and lowers it when ho 
is eating. 



is fixed] on the [completed] houses — is still far out of his reach, 1 — his two 
arms are worn out with work ; his provisions are placed higgledy piggledy 
amongst his refuse } — he consumes himself, for he has no other bread than his 
fingers — and he becomes wearied all at once. — He is much and dreadfully- 
exhausted — for there is [always] a block [to be dragged] in this or that 
building, — a block of ten cubits by six, — there is [always] a block [to be 
dragged] in this or that month [as far as the] scaffolding poles [to which 
is fixed] the bunch of lotus-flowers on the [completed] houses. — When the 


work is quite finished, — if he has bread, he returns home, — and his children 
have been beaten unmercifully [during his absence]. 3 — The weaver within 
doors is worse off there than a woman ; — squatting, his knees against his 
chest, — he does not breathe. — If during the day he slackens weaving, — he is 
bound fast as the lotuses of the lake ; — and it is by giving bread to the 
doorkeeper, that the latter permits him to see the light. 4 — The dyer, his 
fingers reeking — and their smell is that of fish-spawn ; — his two eyes are 
oppressed with fatigue, — his hand does not stop, — and, as he spends his time 
in cutting out rags — he has a hatred of garments. 5 — The shoemaker is very 
unfortunate ; — he moans ceaselessly, — his health is the health of the spawning 

1 This passage is conjecturally translated. I suppose that the Egyptian masons had a custom 
analogous to that of our own, and attached a bunch of lotus to the highest part of a building they 
had just finished : nothing, however, has come to light to confirm this conjecture. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Champollion's Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie, pl. 
clxvi. 3 ; cf. Eosellini, Monumenti civili, pl. lsiv. 1 ; Viuey, Le Tombeau de Rehhmarâ, in the 
Mémoires publies par les Membres de la Mission du Caire, vol. v. pis. xiii., xv. This picture belongs to 
the XVIII"' dynasty ; but the sandals figured in it are, however, quite like those to be seen on more 
ancient monuments. 

3 Sallier Papyrus n" IL, pi. iv. 1. 6, pi v. 1. 5 ; cf. Maspeho, Du Genre Épistolaire chez les 
Anciens Égyptiens de Vépoque pharaonique, pp. 50, 5 1 ; Lauth, Die Altdgyptische Hochschule zu Chennu, 
in the Comptes Rendus of the Academy of Sciences of Munich, 1872, vol. i. p. 37, et seq. 

4 Sallier Papyrus n° II, pi. vi. 11. 1-5; cf. Maspero, Du Genre Épistolaire, pp. 53, 55, and 
Chabas, Recherches pour servir à l'histoire de la XIX' : dynastie égyptienne, pp. 141, 145. 

4 Sallier Papyrus n" II, pl. vii. 11. 2, 3. 



fish, — and he gnaws the leather. 1 — The baker makes dough, — subjects the 
loaves to the fire; — while his head is inside the oven, — his son holds him 
by the legs ; — if he slips from the hands of his son, — he falls there into the 
flames." 2 These are the miseries inherent to the trades themselves : the levying 

of the tax added to the cata- 
logue a long sequel of vexa- 
tions and annoyances, which 
were renewed several times 
in the year at regular inter- 
vals. Even at the present 
day, the fellah does not pay 
his contributions except 
under protest and by com- 
pulsion, but the determina- 
tion not to meet obligations 
except beneath the stick, 
was proverbial from ancient 
times : whoever paid his dues 


merciless beating would be overwhelmed with reproaches by his family, and 
jeered at without pity by his neighbours. 4 The time when the tax fell due, 
came upon the nomes as a terrible crisis which affected the whole population. 
For several days there was nothing to be heard but protestations, threats, 
beating, cries of pain from the tax-payers, and piercing lamentations from 
women and children. The performance over, calm was re-established, and the 
good people, binding up their wounds, resumed their round of daily life until 
the next tax-gathering. 

The towns of this period presented nearly the same confined and mysterious 
appearance as those of the present day. 5 They were grouped around one 
or more temples, each of which was surrounded by its own brick enclosing 
Mall, with its enormous gateways : the gods dwelt there in real castles, or, if 

1 Sallier Papyrus n° IL, pl. vii. 1. 9, pl. viii. 1. 2. 

2 Anastasi Papyrus n° IL, pi. vii. 11. 3-5, with a duplicate of the same passage in the Sallier 
Papyrus n" I., pi. vii. 11. 7-9 ; cf. Maspero, du Genre Épistolaire chez les Anciens Égyptiens, p. 35. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the painted picture in one of the small antechambers of the 
tomb of Eamses III., at Bab-el-Molûk (Eosellini, Monumenti civili, pi. lxxxvi. 8). 

4 Ammianus Marcellinus, bk. xxii. chap. 16, § 23: "Erubescit apud eos, si quis non iufitiando 
tributa, plurimas in corpore vibices ostendat ; " cf. .ZElian, Var. Eist., vii. 18. For modern times, 
read the curious account given by Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, 2nd edit., vol. i. pp. 306, 307. 

5 I have had occasion to make " soundings " or excavations at various points in very ancient towns 
and villages, at Thebes, Abydos and Mataniyeh, and I give here a résumé of my observations. Pro- 
fessor Petrie has brought to light and regularly explored several cities of the XII th and XVIII"' 
dynasties, situated at the entrance to the Fayûrn. I have borrowed many points in my description 
from the various works which he has published on the subject, Kahun, Guroband Eaiear a, 1890; and 
lllaJmn, Kahun and Gurob, 1891. 



this word appears too ambitious, redouts, in which the population could talce 
refuge in cases of sudden attack, and where they could be in safety. 1 The 
towns, which had all been 
built at one period by some 
king or prince, were on a 
tolerably regular ground 
plan ; the streets were paved 
and fairly wide; they crossed 
each other at right angles, 
and were bordered with 
buildings on the same line of frontage. The cities of ancient origin, which had 
increased with the chance growth of centuries, presented a totally different 
aspect. A network of lanes and blind alleys, narrow, dark, damp, and 


- I- 

the houses, 
and there was 
up, or a muddy 
drink, and from 



q $P Il Ëgl 

rj-pTEi a PP aren % 


-i u 


badly built, 
spread itself 
out between 
random : here 


an arm of a canal, all but dried 
pool where the cattle came to 
which the women fetched the 
water for their households; then followed an open space of irregular shape, shaded 

1 For the description of the castles of princes and governors of nomes, see Maspero, Sur le sens 
des mots Nouît et Eâit, p. 13, et seq. (extracted from the Proceedings of the Biblical Archxological 
Society, 1889-90) ; for that of the houses, see Archéologie Égyptienne, pp. 13, 14. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a water-colour by Bousbac, Le Tombeau d'Anna, in the Mémoires 
de la Mission Française. The house was situated at Thebes, and belonged to the XVIII th dynasty. 
The remains of the houses brought to light by Mariette at Abydos belong to the same type, and 
date back to the XII th dynasty. By means of these, Mariette was enabled to reconstruct an 
ancient Egyptian house at the Paris Exhibition of 1877. The picture of the tomb of Anna 
reproduces in most respects, we may therefore assume, the appearance cf a nobleman's dwelling at 
all periods. At the side of the main building we see two corn granaries with conical roofs, and a 
great storehouse for provisions. 

* From a plan made and published by Professor Flinders Petrie, llldhun, Kahun and Gurob, pi. xiv. 


by acacias or sycamores, where the country-folk of the suburbs held their market 
on certain days, twice or thrice a month ; then came waste ground covered with 
filth and refuse, over which the dogs of the neighbourhood fought with hawks 
and vultures. The residence of the prince or royal governor, and the houses 
of rich private persons, covered a considerable area, and generally presented 
to the street a long extent of bare walls, crenellated like those of a fortress : 

the only ornament admitted 
on them, consisted of angular 
grooves, each surmounted by 
two open lotus flowers having 
their stems intertwined. 
Within these walls domestic 
life was entirely secluded, 
and as it were confined to its 
own resources ; the pleasure 
of watching passers-by was 
sacrificed to the advantage of 
not being seen from outside. 
The entrance alone denoted 
at times the importance of 
the great man who concealed 
himself within the enclosure. 
Two or three steps led up to 
the door, which sometimes 
had a columned portico, orna- 
mented with statues, lending 
an air of importance to the building. The houses of the citizens were small, and 
built of brick ; they contained, however, some half-dozen rooms, either vaulted, 
or having flat roofs, and communicating with each other usually by arched 
doorways. A few houses boasted of two or three stories ; all possessed a terrace, 
on which the Egyptians of old, like those of to-day, passed most of their time, 
attending to household cares or gossiping with their neighbours over the 
party wall or across the street. The hearth was hollowed out in the ground, 
usually against a wall, and the smoke escaped through a hole in the ceiling : 
they made their fires of sticks, wood charcoal, and the dung of oxen and 
asses. In the houses of the rich we meet with state apartments, lighted 
in the centre by a square opening, and supported by rows of wooden columns ; 

1 Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey. The monument is the stele of 
Situ (IV th dynasty), in the Gîzeh Museum (Maspero, Guide du Visiteur, pp. 33, 208, 114, 
No. 1043). 



the shafts, which were octagonal, measured ten inches in diameter, and were 
fixed into flat circular stone bases. 


The family crowded themselves together into two or three rooms in winter, 
and slept on the roof in the open air in summer, in spite of risk from 


affections of the stomach and eyes ; the remainder of the dwelling was used 
for stables or warehouses. The store-chambers were often built in pairs ; 

1 Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph, taken in 1884, by Emit Brugsch-Bey. 
* Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Professor Petrie, Malum, Kahun and Gurob, 
pL xvi. 3. 





they were of brick, carefully limewashed internally, and usually assumed the 
form of an elongated cone, in imitation of the Government storehouses. 1 For 
the valuables which constituted the wealth of each house- 
hold — wedges of gold or silver, precious stones, 
ornaments for men or women — there were places of 
concealment, in which the possessors attempted to 
hide them from robbers or from the tax-col- 
lectors. But the latter, accustomed 
to the craft of the citizens, evinced 
a peculiar aptitude for ferreting out 
the hoard : they tapped the walls, 
lifted and pierced the roofs, dug down into the soil below the foundations, 
and often brought to light, not only the treasure of the owner, but all the sur- 
roundings of the grave and human corruption. It was 
actually the custom, among the lower and middle classes, 
to bury in the middle of the house children who had died 
at the breast. The little body was placed in 
an old tool or linen box, without any 
attempt at embalming, and its favour- 
ite playthings and amulets were buried 
with it : two or three infants are often 
found occupying the same coffin. 4 The 
playthings 'were of an artless but very 
varied character ; dolls of limestone, 
enamelled pottery or wood, with mov- 
able arms and wigs of artificial hair ; 
pigs, crocodiles, ducks, and pigeons on 
wheels, pottery boats, miniature sets of 
household furniture, skin balls filled with 
hay, marbles, and stone bowls. However 
strange it may appear, we have to fancy the 
apparatus for striking a light. 5 small boys of ancient Egypt as playing at 

1 Fl. Pétrie, Kahun, Gurob and Hawara, pp. 23, 24 ; and lllahun, Kahun and Gurob, pp. 6-8. 
An instance of twin storehouses may be seen to the right of the house of Anna on p. 315 of this 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a head-rest in my possession obtained at Gebelên (XI th 
dynasty) : the foot of the head-rest is usually solid, and cut out of a single piece of wood. 

3 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Petrie, Eawara, Biahmu and Arsinoe, pi. xiii. 21. 
The original, of rough wood, is now in the Asbmolean Museum at Oxford. 

4 Fl. Petrie, Kahun, Gurob and lllahun, p. 24. 

5 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch published in Fl. Petrie, Blahun, Kahun and Gurob, 
pi. vii. The bow is represented in the centre ; on the left, at the top, is the nut ; below it the 



bowls like ours, or impudently whipping their tops along the streets without 
respect for the legs of the passers-by. 1 

Some care was employed upon the decoration of the chambers. The 
rough-casting of mud often preserves its original grey colour; sometimes, 
however, it was limewashed, and coloured red or yellow, or decorated 
with pictures of jars, provisions, and the interiors as well as the exteriors 
of houses. 2 The bed was not on legs, but consisted of a low framework, like 


the "angarebs " of the modern Nubians, or of mats which were folded up in the 
daytime, but upon which they lay in their clothes during the night, the head 
being supported by a head-rest of pottery, limestone, or wood : the remaining 
articles of furniture consisted of one or two roughly hewn seats of stone, 
a few lion-legged chairs or stools, boxes and trunks of varying sizes for linen 
and implements, 4 kohl, or perfume, pots of alabaster or porcelain, 5 and lastly, 
the fire-stick with the bow by which it was set in motion, 6 and some roughly 

fire-stick, which w as attached to the end of the stock ; at the bottom and right, two pieces of wood 
with round carbonized holes, which took fire from the friction of the rapidly rotating stick. 

1 Fl. Petrie, Kdhun, Gurob and lllahun, pp. 24, 30, and 31 ; Hawara, Biahmu and Arsiaoe, 
pp. 11, 12. 

2 Fl. Petrie, Kahun, Gurob and lllahun, p. 21; and lllahun, Kahun and Gurob, p. 7, and pi. xvi. 
4, 5, 6. The front of the house is represented on the lower part, the interior on the upper part of 
the picture. 

5 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the facsimile in Petrie's lllahun, Kahun and Gurob, pi. xvi. 6. 
* Fl. Petrie, Kahun, Gurob and Hawara, p. 24 ; and lllahun, Kahun and Gurob, pp. 8-11, 12, 13. 
4 Fl. Petrie, Kahun, Gurob and Hawara, pp. 29, 30. 

8 Fl. Petrie, Kahun, Gurob and Hawara, p. 29, pi. ix. b; and lllahun, Kahun and Gurob, p. 12, 
pi. vii. 24, 25, 26. I found several of these fire-sticks at Thebes, in the ruins of the ancient city. 



made pots and pans of clay or bronze. 1 Men rarely entered their houses 
except to eat and sleep ; their employments or handicrafts were such as to 
require them for the most part to work out-of-doors. The middle- class 
families owned, almost always, one or two slaves — either purchased or born 
in the house — who did all the hard work : they looked after the cattle, 
watched over the children, acted as cooks, and fetched water from the nearest 
pool or well. Among the poor the drudgery of the house- 
hold fell entirely upon the woman. She spun, wove, cut 
out and mended garments, fetched fresh water and pro- 
visions, cooked the dinner, and made tho 
daily bread. She spread some handfuls 
of grain upon an oblong slab of stone, 
slightly hollowed on its upper surface, 
and proceeded to crush them with a 
smaller stone like a painter's muller, 
which she moistened from time to 
time. For an hour and more she 
laboured with her arms, shoulders, 
loins, in fact, all her body ; but an in- 
different result followed from the great 
exertion. The flour, made to undergo 
several grindings in this rustic mortar, 
was coarse, uneven, mixed with bran, or whole grains, which had escaped 
the pestle, and contaminated with dust and abraded particles of the stone. 
She kneaded it with a little water, blended with it, as a sort of yeast, a piece of 
stale dough of the day before, and made from the mass round cakes, about 
half an inch thick and some four inches in diameter, which she placed upon a 
flat flint, covering them with hot ashes. The bread, imperfectly raised, often 
badly cooked, borrowed, from the organic fuel under which it was buried, a 
special odour, and a taste to which strangers did not readily accustom them- 
selves. The impurities which it contained were sufficient in the long run 
to ruin the strongest teeth ; eating it was an action of grinding rather than 
chewing, and old men were not unfrequently met with whose teeth had 
been gradually worn away to the level oî the gums, like those of an aged ass 
or ox. 3 

1 Fl. Petrie, Kahun, Gurob and Hawara, pp. 24-26; and lllahun, Kahun and Gurob, pp. 8-11, 
12, 13. Earthen pots are more common thau those of bronze. 

2 Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Be'chard (cf. Mariette, Album photographique du 
Musée de Boulaq, pl. 20; Maspero, Guide du Visiteur, p. 220, Nos. 1012, 1013). 

3 The description of the woman grinding grain and kneading dough is founded on statues in the 
Gîzeh Museum (Mariette, Notice des principaux monuments, 1864, p. 202, Nos. 30-35, and Album 
photographique du Musée de Boulaq, pl. 20; Maspero, Guide du Visiteur, p. 220, Nos. 1012, 1013). 




Movement and animation were not lacking at certain hours of the day, 
particularly during the morning, in the markets and in the neighbourhood 
of the temples and government buildings : there was but little traffic 
anywhere else ; the streets were silent, and the town dull and sleepy. It woke 
up completely only three or four times a year, at seasons of solemn assemblies 
" of heaven and earth : " the houses were then opened and their inhabitants 


streamed forth, the lively crowd thronging the squares and crossways. 
To begin with, tliere was New Year's Day, quickly followed by the Festival 


of the Dead, the "Uagaît." On the night of the 17th of Thot, the priests 
kindled before the statues in the sanctuaries and sepulchral chapels, the fire 
for the use of the gods and doubles during the twelve ensuing months. 
Almost at the same moment the whole country was lit up from one end to 

All the European museums possess numerous specimens of the bread in question (Champollion, 
Notice descriptive des monuments du Musée Egyptien, 1827, p. 97), and the effect which it .produces 
in the long run on the teeth of those who habitually used it as an article of diet, lias been observed 
in mummies of the most important personages (Maspero, Les Momies royales de Béir el Bahari, in 
the Mémoires de la Mission Française, vol. i. p. 581). 

1 Drawn by Faucuer-Gudiu, from a picture on the tomb of Khuûmhotpû at Beni-Hasan (cf, 
Champollion, Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie, pl. ccelxxxi. bis, 4 ; Rosellini, Monument i 
civili, pl. xli. 6; Lepsius, Denkm., ii. 1'26). This is the loom which was reconstructed in 1889 for 
the Paris Exhibition, and which is now to be seen in the galleries of the Trocadero. 




the other: there was scarcely a family, however poor, who did not place in 
front of their door a new lamp in which burned an oil saturated with salt, and 
who did not spend the whole night in feasting and gossiping. 1 The festivals 
of the living gods attracted considerable crowds, who came not only from the 
nearest nomes, but also from great distances in caravans and in boats laden 
with merchandise, for religious sentiment did not exclude commercial interests, 
and the pilgrimage ended in a fair. For several days the people occupied 
themselves solely in prayers, sacrifices, and processions, in which the faithful, 
clad in white, with palms in their hands, chanted hymns as they escorted 
the priests on their way. " The gods of heaven exclaim ' Ah ! ah ! ' in 
satisfaction, the inhabitants of the earth are full of gladness, the Hâthors beat 
their tabors, the great ladies wave their mystic whips, all those who are 
gathered together in the town are drunk with wine and crowned with flowers ; 
the tradespeople of the place walk joyously about, their heads scented with 
perfumed oils, all the children rejoice in honour of the goddess, from the rising 
to the setting of the sun." 2 The nights were as noisy as the days: for a few 
hours, they made up energetically for long months of torpor and monotonous 
existence. The god having re-entered the temple and the pilgrims taken 
their departure, the regular routine was resumed and dragged on its tedious 
course, interrupted only by the weekly market. At an early hour on that day, 
the peasant folk came in from the surrounding country in an interminable 
stream, and installed themselves in some open space, reserved from time 
immemorial for their use. The sheep, geese, goats, and large-horned cattle 
were grouped in the centre, awaiting purchasers. Market-gardeners, fishermen, 
fowlers and gazelle-hunters, potters, and small tradesmen, squatted on the 
roadsides or against the houses, and offered their wares for the inspection of 
their customers, heaped up in reed baskets, or piled on low round tables : 
vegetables and fruits, loaves or cakes baked during the night, meat either raw 
or cooked in various w r ays, stuffs, perfumes, ornaments, — all the necessities and 
luxuries of daily life. It was a good opportunity for the workpeople, as well 
as for the townsfolk, to lay in a store of provisions at a cheaper rate than from 
the ordinary shops ; and they took advantage of it, each according to his means. 

1 The night of the 17th Thot — which, according to our computation, would be the night of the 
IGth to the 17th — was, as may be seen from the Great Inscription of Siût (1. 36, tt seq.), appointed 
for the ceremony of " lighting the fire" before the statues of the dead and of the gods. As at the 
" Feast of Lamps " mentioned by Herodotus (ii. G2), the religious ceremony was accompanied by a 
general illumination which lasted all the night ; the object of this, probably, was to facilitate the 
visit which the souls of the dead were supposed to pay at this time to the family residence. 

2 Dumichen, Dendera, pl. xxxviii. II. 15-19. The people of Deudera crudely enough called 
this the "Feast of Drunkenness." From what we know of the earlier epochs, we are justified in 
making this description a general one, and in applying it, as I have done here, to the festivals of 
other towns besides Deudera. 



Business was mostly carried on by barter. 1 The purchasers brought with 
them some product of their toil — a new tool, a pair of shoes, a reed mat, 
pots of unguents or cordials ; often, too, rows of cowries and a small box full of 
rings, each weighing a " tabnû," made of copper, silver, or even gold, all destined 
to be bartered for such things as they needed. 2 When it came to be a question 
of some large animal or of objects of considerable value, the discussions which 
arose were keen and stormy : it was necessary to be agreed not only as to the 
amount, but as to the nature of the payment to be made, and to draw up a sort 
of invoice, or in fact an inventory, in which beds, sticks, honey, oil, pick-axes, 
and garments, all figure as equivalents for a bull or a she-ass. 3 Smaller retail 
bargains did not demand so many or such complicated calculations. Two 
townsfolk stop for a moment in front of a fellah who offers onions and corn in 
a basket for sale. The first appears to possess no other circulating medium 
than two necklaces made of glass beads or many-coloured enamelled terra- 
cotta ; the other flourishes about a circular fan with a wooden handle, and one 
of those triangular contrivances used by cooks for blowing up the fire. "Here 
is a fine necklace which will suit you," cries the former, " it is just what you 
are wanting ; " while the other breaks in with : " Here is a fan and a venti- 
lator." The fellah, however, does not let himself be disconcerted by this double 
attack, aud proceeding methodically, he takes one of the necklaces to examine 
it at his leisure : " Give it to me to look at, that I may fix the price." The 
one asks too much, the other offers too little ; after many concessions, they at 
last come to an agreement, and settle on the number of onions or the quantity 
of grain which corresponds exactly with the value of the necklace or the fan. 
A little further on, a customer wishes to get some perfumes in exchange for a 
pair of sandals, and conscientiously praises his wares : " Here," says he, " is a 
strong pair of shoes." But the merchant has no wish to be shod just then, 

' The scenes of market life here described are borrowed from a tomb at Saqqàra (Lepsius, 
Denhm., ii. 9G). Attention was drawn to them in my lectures at the College of Fiance in 1876, and 
they were reproduced among the pictures of Egyptian customs collected by Mariette for the Paris 
Exhibition of 1878 (Mariette, La Galerie de l'Égypte ancienne à V Exposition rétrospective du, Troca- 
déro, p. 41) ; I published them about the same time in the Gazette Archéologique, 1880, p. 97, et seq. 
M. Cliabas had, indeed, recognized in tliem scenes of market life (Recherches sur les Poids, Mesures et 
Monnaies des Anciens Egyptiens, pp. 15, 16), but did not fully understand their detail and composition. 

2 The name deciphered as ûtnû, "ten," since the researches of Chabas must now be read tabnû (AV. 
Spiegelberg, Die Lesung des Geioichtes Tabnû, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. xv. pp. 145, 146). 
The observations of Chabas (Note sur un Poids égyptien de la collection de M. Harris d'Alexandrie, in 
the Revue Archéologique, 1861, 2nd series, vol. iii. p. 12, et seq. ; Détermination métrique de deux 
Mesures égyptiennes de capacité, 1857; Recherches sur les Poids, Mesures et Monnaies des Anciens 
Égyptiens, in the Mémoires de ï Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Savants étrangers, vol. 
xxvii.) have established the fact that the average weight of the tabnû varied from 91 to 92 grammes 
[about 3J ozs. avoirdupois. — Tits.] ; these results have been confirmed with but trifling differences by 
the tests of Professor Flinders Petrie. 

3 Several invoices of this nature -will be found translated in Chabas, Recherches sur les Poids, 
Mesures et Monnaies des Anciens Égyptiens, p. 17, et seq. They are all of the XX th dynasty, and are in 
the possession of the British Museum (S. Birch, Inscriptions in the Hieratic and Demotic Character, pi. 



and demands a row of cowries for his little pots : " You have merely to take a 
few drops of this to see how delicious it is," he urges in a persuasive tone. A 
seated customer has two jars thrust under his nose by a woman — they probably 

contain some kind of unguent : " Here is 
something which smells good enough to 
tempt you." Behind this group two men 
are discussing the relative merits of a brace- 
let and a bundle of fish-hooks ; a woman, 
with a small box in her hand, is having an 
argument with a merchant selling necklaces ; 
another woman seeks to obtain a reduction 
in the price of a fish which is being scraped 
in front of her. Exchanging commodities 
for metal necessitated two or three opera- 
tions not required in ordinary barter. The 
rings or thin bent strips of metal which 
formed the " tabnû " and its multiples, 1 did 
not always contain the regulation amount of 
gold or silver, and were often of light weight. 
They had to be weighed at every fresh trans- 
action in order to estimate their true value, 
and the interested parties never missed this 
excellent opportunity for a heated discus- 
sion : after having declared for a quarter of 
an hour that the scales were out of order, that 
the weighing had been carelessly performed, and that it should be done over 
again, they at last came to terms, exhausted with wrangling, and then went 
their way fairly satisfied with one another. 3 It sometimes happened that a 

xvi., Nos. 5633, 5636). The invoice of the bull (Birch, Inscriptions in the Hieratic and Demotic Charac- 
ter, pi. xv., No. 5649) has been translated and commented on by Chabas, in his Me'langes Egyptologiques, 
3rd series, vol. i. p. 217, et seq. The invoice of the she-ass is preserved on the Berlin ostracon, No. 
6241 ; it has been referred to by Erman, JEgypten und Leben in Altertum, pp. 657, 658. 

1 The rings of gold in the Museum at Leyden (Leemans, Monuments Égyptiens, vol. ii. pi. xli., 
No. 296), which were used as a basis of exchange (Brandis, Das Miinz- Mass- und Gewichtsicesen 
in Vorder-Asien, p. 82), are made on the Chaldajo-Babyloniau pattern, and belong to the Asiatic 
system (Fr. Lenormant, La Monnaie dans l'Antiquité', vol. i. pp. 103, 104). We must, perhaps, 
agree with Fr. Lenormant (op cit., pp. 104, 105), in his conclusion that the only kind of national 
metal of exchange in use in Egypt was a copper wire or plate bent thus ^=>, c=f, this being the 
sign invariably used in the hieroglyphics in writing the word tabnû. 

2 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after a sketch by Kosellini, Monumenti cioili, pl. Hi. 1. As to "the con- 
struction of the Egyptian scales, andthe working of their various parts, see Flinders Petrie's remarks in 
A Season in Egxjpt, p. 42, and the drawings which he has brought together on pi. xx. of the same work. 

3 The weighing of rings is often represented on the monuments from the XVIII th dynasty 
onwards (Lepsius, Denlcm., iii. 10 a, 39 a, d, etc.). I am not acquainted with any instance of this on 
the bas-reliefs of the Ancient Empire. The giving of false weight is alluded to in the paragraph in 
the " Negative Confession," in which the dead man declares that he has not interfered with the 
beam of the scales (cf. p. 189 of the present work). 




clever and unscrupulous dealer would alloy the rings, and mix with the 
precious metal as much of a baser sort as would be possible without danger of 
detection. The honest merchant who thought he was receiving in payment for 
some article, say eight tabnû of fine gold, and who had handed to him eight 
tabnû of some alloy resembling gold, but containing one-third of silver, lost in 
a single transaction, without suspecting it, almost one-third of his goods. The 
fear of such counterfeits was instrumental in restraining the use of tabnû for 
a long time among the people, and restricted the buying and selling in the 
markets to exchange in natural products or manufactured objects. 

The present rural population of Egypt scarcely ever live in isolated and 
scattered farms ; they are almost all concentrated in hamlets and villages of 
considerable extent, divided into quarters often at some distance from each 
other. 1 The same state of things existed in ancient times, and those who would 
realize what a village in the past was like, have only to visit any one of the 
modern market towns scattered at intervals along the valley of the Nile : — 
half a dozen fairly built houses, inhabited by the principal people of the place ; 
groups of brick or clay cottages thatched with durra stalks, so low that a man 
standing upright almost touches the roof with his head ; courtyards filled with 
tall circular mud-built sheds, in which the corn and durra for the house- 
hold is carefully stored, and wherever we turn, pigeons, ducks, geese, and animals 
all living higgledy-piggledy with the family. The majority of the peasantry 
were of the lower class, but they were not everywhere subjected to the same 
degree of servitude. The slaves, properly so called, came from other countries 
they had been bought from foreign merchants, or they had been seized in a raid 
and had lost their liberty by the fortune of war. 2 Their master removed them 
from place to place, sold them, used them as he pleased, pursued them if they 
succeeded in escaping, and had the right of recapturing them as soon as he 
received information of their whereabouts. They worked for him under his 
overseer's orders, receiving no regular wages, and with no hope of recovering 
their liberty. 3 Many chose concubines from their own class, or intermarried 

1 Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 164, 172. 

2 The first allusion to prisoners of war brought back to Egypt, is found in the biography of Ûni 
(11. 26, 27). The method in which they were distributed among the officers and soldiers is iudicated 
in several inscriptions of the New Empire, in that of Âhmosis Pannekhabît (Lepsics, Auswahl der 
wichtigsten Urlcunden, pi. xiv. a, 11. 5, 7, 10 ; cf. Prisse d'Avennes, Monuments de l'Égypte, pl. ix., 
and especially Maspero, Notes sur quelques points de Grammaire et d'Histoire, in the Zeitschrift, 1883, 
pp. 77, 78, where a complete text is given), in that of Âhmosis si-Abîua (Lepsids, Denlim., iii. 12, 
where one of the inscriptions contains a list of slaves, some of whom are foreigners), in that of 
Amenemhabi (Ebers, Zeit und Thaten Tutmes III., in the Zeitschrift, 1873, pp. 1-9 and 63, et seq.). 
We may form some idea of the number of slaves in Egypt from the fact that in thirty years Kamscs 
III. presented 113,433 of them to the temples alone (Brugsch, Die Mgyptologie, pp. 264, 265; Erman, 
Mgypten, p. 406). The " Directors of the Eoyal Slaves," at all periods, occupied an important 
position at the court of the Pharaohs (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 8, 39). 

J A scene reproduced by Lepsius (Denlim., ii. 107) fchows us, about the time of the VI th dynasty, 


with the natives and had families : at the end of two or three generations 
their descendants became assimilated with the indigenous race, and were 
neither more nor less than actual serfs attached to the soil, who were made 
over or exchanged with it. 1 The landed proprietors, lords, kings, or gods, 


accommodated this population either in the outbuildings belonging to their 
residences, or in villages built for the purpose, where everything belonged 
to them, both houses and people. 3 The condition of the free agricultural 
labourer was in many respects analogous to that of the modern fellah. Some 
of them possessed no other property than a mud cabin, just large enough for 
a man and his wife, and hired themselves out by the day or the year as farm 

the harvest gathered by the " royal slaves" in concert with the tenants of the dead man (Maspero, 
Etudes Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 86). One of the petty princes defeated by the Ethiopian Piônkhi Miamûn 
proclaims himself to be " one of the royal slaves who pay tribute in kind to the royal treasury " 
(E. de Rougé, La Stèle du roi éthiopien Piânlchi-Meriamen, p. 31, 1. 8). Amten repeatedly mentions 
slaves of this kind, " sûtiû " (Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. p. 168, 1. 13 ; p. 211, 1. 4). 

1 This is the status of serfs, or miritiû, as shown in the texts of every period. They are 
mentioned along with the fields or cattle attached to a temple or belonging to a noble. Eamses II. 
granted to the temple of Abydos "an appanage in cultivated lands, in serfs (miritiû), in cattle" 
(Mariette, Abydos, vol. i. pl. vii. 1. 72). The scribe Anna sees in his tomb " stalls of bulls, of oxen, 
of calves, of milch cows, as well as serfs, in the mortmain of Amon" (Brugsch, Recueil de Monu- 
ments, vol. i. pi. xxxvi. 2, 11. 1, 2). Ptolemy I. returned to the temple at Buto " the domains, the 
boroughs, the serfs, the tillage, the water supply, the cattle, the geese, the flocks, all the things" 
which Xerxes had taken away from Kabbisha (Mariette, Monuments divers, pi. xiii. 11. 13, 14). 
The expression passed into the language, as a word used to express the condition of a subject race : 
* I cause," said Thûtmosis III., " Egypt to be a sovereign (liirit) to whom all the earth is a slave " 
(miritiï) (Brugsch, Diet. Hiér., pp. 672, 673). 

2 Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Beato, taken in 1886. 

3 The ârrîiù, so frequently mentioned in the texts, and the pi-hahû acted as ergastuli, and 
included, among others, the slaves of the kings and of the gods (Brugsch, Diet. Eiér., pp. 749, 750 ; 
cf. Maspero, Études Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 29, 30, and the Hypogées royaux de Thebes, p. 26). 


servants. 1 Others were emboldened to lease land from the lord or from a soldier 
in the neighbourhood. 2 The most fortunate acquired some domain of which they 
were supposed to receive only the product, the freehold of the property remaining 
primarily in the hands of the Pharaoh, and secondarily in that of lay or religious 
feudatories who held it of the sovereign : they could, moreover, bequeath, give, 
or sell these lands and buy fresh ones without any opposition. 3 They paid, besides 
the capitation tax, a ground rent proportionate to the extent of their property, 
and to the kind of land of which it consisted. 4 It was not without reason 
that all the ancients attributed the invention of geometry to the Egyptians. 5 
The perpetual encroachments of the Nile and the displacements it occasioned, 
the facility with which it effaced the boundaries of the fields, and in one summer 
modified the whole face of a nome, had forced them from early times to measure 
with the greatest exactitude the ground to which they owed their sustenance. 6 
The territory belonging to each town and nome was subjected to repeated surveys 
made and co-ordinated by the Eoyal Administration, thus enabling Pharaoh to 
know the exact area of his estates. The unit of measurement was the arura ; that 
is to say, a square of a hundred cubits, comprising in round numbers twenty- 
eight ares.* A considerable staff of scribes and surveyors was continually occu- 
pied in verifying the old measurements or in making fresh ones, and in recording 
in the State registers any changes which might have taken place. 7 Each estate 

1 They are mentioned iu the Sallier Papyrus n» H. p. 5, 11. 7-9 ; cf. Maspero, Le Genre 
Epistolaire, p. 52. 

2 Diodortjs, i. 74. As to the letting of royal or other lands during the Ptolemaic period, see the 
remarks of Ltjmbroso, Recherches sur l Économie politique de l'Egypte, pp. 94, 95. 

3 Amten had inherited a domain from his father (Maspero, Etudes Égyptiennes, vol. ii. pp. 238, 239). 
He gave fifty arurse to his mother (id., pp. 228-230), and other lands to his children (cf. p. 294 of the pre- 
sent work). It was to these proprietors that Amoni, Prince ofMihît, alluded, when he said that '-the 
masters of the fields were becoming masters of all hinds of property," i.e. were becoming rich, thanks to 
their good management (Maspero, La Grande Inscription de Beni-Hassan, in the Recueil, vol. i. p. 174). 

4 The capitation tax, the ground rent, and the house duty of the time of the Ptolemies, already 
existed under the rule of the native Pharaohs. Brugseh (Die Mgyptologie, pp. 297-299) has shown 
that these taxes are mentioned in an inscription of the time of Amenôthes III. (Mariette, Karnak, 
pl. xxxvii. 1. 31). 

5 Herodotus, ii. 109 ; according to Plato (Phxdrus, § lix., Didot's edition, vol. i. p. 733), Thot 
was supposed to have been the inventor of the art of surveying ; Jamblichds (Life of Pythagoras, 
§ 29) traces the discovery back to the time of the gods. 

6 Servius, Ad Virgilii Eclog., iii. 41 : "Inventa enitn hsec ars est tempore quo Nil us, plus aequo 
crescens, confudit terminos possessionum, ad quos innovandos adhibiti sunt philosophi, qui lineis 
diviserunt agros; inde geometria dicitur." 

[* One " are " equals 100 square metres. — Tr.] 

7 A series of inscriptions of Edfû, published and explained by Lepsius (Ueber eine hieroglyphische 
Inschrift am Tempel von Edfu, Apollinopolis Magna, in welcher der Besitz dieses Tempels an Lànder- 
eien unter der Regierung Ptolemxus VI Alexander I verzeichnet ist, in the Mémoires de V Académie 
des Science de Berlin, 1855, p. 69, et seq.), and more recently by Brugseh (Tliesaurus Inscriptionum 
JEgyptiacarum, iii. pp. 531-G07), shows what these Registers of Surveys must have been like. Some 
information as to the organization of this department and its staff may be found on p. 592, et seq. 
of Brugsch's Thesaurus. We learn from the expressions employed in the great inscription of Beni- 
Hasan (11. 13 — 58, 131-148) that the cadastral survey had existed from the very earliest times; there 
are references in it to previous surveys. We find a surveying scene on the tomb of Zosirkerîsonbû 
at Thebes, under the XVIII" 1 dynasty. Two persons are measuring a field of wheat by means of 
a cord ; a third notes down the result of their work (Scheil, Le Tombeau de Raserhasenb, in the 
Mémoires de la Mission Française, vol. v.). 




had its boundaries marked out by a line of stelœ which frequently bore the name 
of the tenant at the time, and the date when the landmarks 
were last fixed. 1 Once set up, the stele received 
name which gave it, as it were, a living and in- 
dependent personality. 2 It sometimes recorded 
the nature of the soil, its situation, or some 
characteristic which made it remarkable — the 
" Lake of the South," 3 the " Eastern Meadow," 4 
the " Green Island," 5 the " Fisher's Pool," 6 the 
" Willow Plot," the " Vineyard," 7 the " Vine 
Arbour," 8 the " Sycamore ; " 9 sometimes also it 
bore the name of the first master or the Pharaoh 
under whom it had been erected — the "Nurse- 
Phtahhotpû," 10 the " Verdurç-Kheops," 11 the 
" Meadow-Didif rî," 12 the " Abundance-Sahûri," 13 
" Khafri-Great-among-the Doubles." 14 Once 
given, the name clung to it for centuries, 
and neither sales, nor redistributions, nor revo- 
lutions, nor changes of dynasty, could cause it 
to be forgotten. 15 The officers of the survey in- 
scribed it in their books, together with the name of the proprietor, those of the 

1 The great inscription of Beni-Hasan tells us of the stelœ which bounded the principality 
of the Gazelle on the North and South (11. 21-24, 32, 33, 47-41»), and of those in the plain which 
marked the northern boundary of the nouie of the Jackal (1. 139); we also possess three other 
stela; which were used by Amenôthes IV. to indicate the extreme limits of his new city of 
Khûtniaton (PitissE d'Avennes, Monuments de VÉgyyte, pis. xiii.-xv. ; Lepsius, Denlcm., iii. 91 a, 
119 b; Dakessv, Tombeaux et stèles-limites de Hagi-Kandil, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. xv. pp. 
36-62). In addition to the above stele, we also know of two others belonging to the XII th dynasty 
which marked the boundaries of a private estate, and which are reproduced, one on plate 106, the 
other in the text of Monuments divers, p. 30 ; also the stele of Buhani under Thûlmosis IV. (Crum, 
Stelse from Wady llalfa, in the Proceedings, vol. xvi., 1893-94. pp. 18, 19). 

2 As to the constitution of these domains, see Maspeko, Sur le sens des mots Nouît et Hait, p. 2, et seq. 
(extracted from the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archxology, 1889-90, vol. xii. p. 236, et seq.). 

s Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 317, under Ûsirkaf, on the tomb of Sannûônkhû. 
4 Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 300, under Sakûri, on the tomb of Pirsonû. 
Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 474, under tjsirkaf, on the tomb of Sannûônkhû. 

6 Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 317, on the tomb of Nofirmâît at Mêdûm, under 
Snofrûi, about the close of the III'" or beginning of the IV th Memphite dynasty. 

7 Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 181, 186, on the tombs of Kamrî and Khonû. 

8 Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 61, on the tomb of Shopsisûrî. 

9 Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 46, 47 ; Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, pp. 186, 276, 325. 

10 Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 353, under Assi, on the tomb of Phtahhotpû. 

11 Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 23, under Khephren, on the tomb of Safkhîtâbûihotpû. 

12 Mariette, Les Blastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 300, under Sahûri, in the tomb of Pirsenû. 

13 Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 80; Mariette, Les Mastabas de l'Ancien Empire, p. 306. 

14 Lepsius, Denlcm., ii. 12, on the tomb of Nibûmkhûît, under Khephren. 

15 Maspero, Sur le sens des mots Nouît et Hait, pp. 11, 12 (in the Proceedings of the Society of 
Biblical Archœology of London, vol. xii., 18S9-90, pp. 246, 247, from which this nomenclature is taken). 

16 Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph given by Mariette, Monuments divers, pi. 47 a. 
The stele marked the boundary of the estate given to a priest of the Theban Amon by Pharaoh 
Thûtmosis IV. of the XVIII th dynasty. The original is now in the Museum at Gizeh. 



owners of adjoining lands, and the area and nature of the ground. They noted 
down, to within a few cubits, the extent of the sand, marshland, pools, canals, 
groups of palms, gardens or orchards, vineyards and cornfields, 1 which it 
contained. Tlie cornland in its turn was divided into several classes, according 
to whether it was regularly inundated, or situated above the highest rise of the 
water, and consequently dependent on a more or less costly system of artificial 
irrigation. All this was so much information of which the scribes took advan- 
tage in regulating the assessment of the land-tax. 

Everything tends to make us believe that this tax represented one-tenth of 
the gross produce, but the amount of the latter varied. 2 It depended on the 
annual rise of the Nile, and it followed the course of it with almost mathematical 
exactitude : if there were too much or too little water, it was immediately 
lessened, and might even be reduced to nothing in extreme cases. The king in 
his capital and the great lords in their fiefs had set up nilometers, by means of 
which, in the critical weeks, the height of the rising or subsiding flood was taken 
daily. Messengers carried the news of it over the country : the people, kept regu- 
larly informed of what was happening, soon knew what kind of season to expect, 
and they could calculate to within very little what they would have to pay. 3 In 
theory, the collecting of the tax was based on the actual amount of land covered 
by the water, and the produce of it was constantly varying. In practice, it was 
regulated by taking the average of preceding years, and deducting from that a 
fixed sum, which was never departed from except in extraordinary circumstances. 4 
The year would have to be a very bad one before the authorities would lower the 
ordinary rate : the State in ancient times was not more willing to deduct any- 
thing from its revenue than the modern State would be. 5 The payment of taxes 

1 See in the great inscription of Beni-Hasan the passage in which are enumerated at full length, 
in a legal document, the constituent parts of t